Tag Archives: Careers

How Do You Define Success?

Lean In” and Sheryl Sandberg have permeated every news channel, major corporation and magazine cover during the last couple of months. The book has been wildly successful and Sandberg has led an army of mainly women in the charge for equality in the workplace. While her book is very helpful and it’s great companies want to aid women in the work/life balance struggle, “Lean In” is not a gospel for every woman out there.

The work/life balance is such a personal issue for men and women alike that no one prescribed way can be applied to everyone’s situation. In reality, it comes down to how you define success. Is is a c-suite office, a certain pay grade, or having happy, responsible children? I can’t answer that question for you and neither can Sheryl Sandberg. What we can do, as women fighting for a better tomorrow, is lift each other up rather than bring one another down.

acsuccessSuccess is one of those obscure topics like happiness. There’s the dictionary definition but that can’t possibly capture everyone’s feelings on these sometimes lofty out-of-reach ideas. A co-worker recently shared a Harvard Business Review (HRB) article that eloquently addressed the topic of success saying “You have to define what success means to you—understanding, of course, that your definition will evolve over time.” I experienced this epitome earlier in the week when I made the conscious decision to attend my fitness class instead of staying later at work. As a young professional, my career is top of mind, but since the start of 2014, my health has become a top priority too. Right now, being successful means taking time for myself, whether that is a yoga class or a manicure.

It is easy to define success right now as a single, young professional with no responsibility to anyone but myself. However, I know it will gradually become harder, when I add a significant other and children to the mix. That is why I enjoyed the HBR article so much; it is okay for your definition of success to change as your grow and figure out what you want from this life. I look at others my age and occasionally question their lack of ambition. But who am I to define success for them? I can’t want for others what they don’t want for themselves. We can’t define success for anyone else but ourselves.

I think that having a clear definition of success and sharing it with your board of directors is important. Of course,definesuccess you can change this definition whenever you need to, but keeping it top of mind will help you make tough decisions. If you define success as being home with your children by 6 p.m. three nights a week, write it on a post-it, share it with your team and make it happen! I doubt it will always be easy and sometimes you’ll have to sacrifice, but keeping your definition of success top of mind should help.

How do you define success? Please share your thoughts with me in the comments section!

 

Motivation Mondays: Knowing Your Limits

This holiday weekend, I headed down to Philadelphia for the Wawa Welcome America Festival. This week-long extravaganza offers free events to people in and around the city. I was super excited to spend my 4th of July weekend celebrating and helping my friend (who works on the festival) put on successful events throughout the week.

A group of us who attended Temple together rolled up our sleeves to help our friend this weekend. It’s safe to say everyone involved is exhausted and is struggling at work today. However, I also think each of us learned a lot this weekend about working large-scale events and balancing our newly found careers with our personal lives.

I’ve talked about work-life balance before because I’ve experienced the struggle firsthand. This weekend, I watched one of my best friends go through the same struggle, without any balance at all. You saw how passionate she was about succeeding, about having successful event after successful event. I also saw what went on afterwards: an exhausted 23 year-old who didn’t know what day of the week it was. Was it worth it? Absolutely.

It’s true, at times, we must drop everything and put our job first. I can sympathize as I too have worked long hours on little sleep to make sure my events were successful. Anyone who has their career as a top priority knows this feeling. As young professionals just starting out, most of us feel like we have to prove ourselves. The majority of us are still at our first job, trying to show our supervisors, co-workers, parents and friends that we are more than capable. But, at a certain point, we have to know our limits.

As young professionals, we find it hard to say no because it shows weaknesses; it shows we can’t handle it all. Here’s a hint everyone: not a single person can handle everything all the time. We must learn to advocate for ourselves and tell our supervisors or co-workers or even family members when we’ve hit our breaking point. If we don’t share with those around us what is going on internally, then how could they know we’re hit our max?

The next time you have too much on your plate, make sure to speak up and ask for help. Everyone has their personally defined limits that should be shared with others. Also, make sure you aren’t trying to control others and set their limits for them. I am so proud of my friend and all she accomplished this weekend and am so glad I was there to experience it with her.

Loyalty Versus Opportunity

I think I’ve accidentally created a mini series on my blog: Random thoughts from a young professional. I’ve shared a few posts about the questions I’ve been thinking about since starting my career in November. From dressing professionally to the concept of telecommuting, lots of ideas have crossed my mind lately. Today’s post is no exception.

opportunityAs young professionals, all of us should be looking to better ourselves and for ways to advance our careers. Actually, all professionals should be doing that, regardless of the field they are in. That began my thinking about loyalty versus opportunity: You have a certain responsibility to your company but you also should be on the lookout for opportunities that will challenge you and help to advance your career. So what do you do if a great opportunity presents itself but you’re happy with your current position?

First off, let me state for the record that this post is no way reflective of how I feel about my current position. I am very happy at my job and am not looking to leave anytime soon. This post is just about an issue I’ve seen many individuals from entry-level to senior management face.

Unless you absolutely hate your job, you feel a certain sense of loyalty to your company, team andloyalty managers. This is especially true for young professionals who are just starting out. I would imagine it to be very hard to leave your first job, the place that gave your career its start. That being said, it is your career, not your manager’s or your team’s. You have to do what’s best for you and know how to handle the situation appropriately. You give advanced notice, you do not burn any bridges and you remain as transparent as possible. It more than likely won’t be easy, but will absolutely be worth it.

Knowing yourself and what’s best for you can be hard at times. If you like your job, if you feel challenged and can financially support yourself, then why would you ever leave? Only you will be able to answer those questions. In my opinion, these are some other questions to consider:

1. Can I continue to grow within this position? If so, how?

2. Do I look forward to going to work most days? Am I passionate about what I’m doing?

3. Is the work at my current position challenging and helping to better my skills?

I’m no expert but these are just some thoughts I had on the whole ‘should I stay or should I go’ concept. Reach out to your mentors, get their opinions and ask how they’d approach the situation. At the end of the day, the choice is only yours. However, sometimes the push out of your comfort zone is exactly what you need.

How did you approach this situation when changing jobs? Share your thoughts!

I Want It All

As promised, this 30 Days of Truth Challenge will absolutely end up taking more than 30 days. But, I made a deal with myself and with my friend Amber that I would write about all 30 prompts. That being said, let me introduce you to prompts 5 and 6.

Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.

There is a lot I’d like to do during my lifetime. As usual, it is hard for me to narrow it down to one goal. When I say I want it all,  I am not lying. For me, that is defined by having a successful career and having a family. Being a working mom, in my opinion, is the hardest combination of jobs out there and feels like a lofty goal. Since I was tiny, my mom has balanced this combination. She has excelled in her career and still managed to coach my softball team and have dinner on the table almost every night. I think she did a fantastic job and am glad I had an example of a woman who was career oriented and family oriented at the same time. I know she struggled with it, as many women do. I see it everywhere: women who are passionate about their careers and adore their families. It becomes quite the balancing act.

careermomsSuccess has a different definition for each individual. When I think about what I hope to accomplish in my lifetime, about what success means to me, I think about striking that balance between professional and mom. I want to be able to want to go to work everyday, feeling passionate about what I do and making an impact in some way. At some point, I absolutely want my own PR firm and maybe even a charity organization. I want a family, to raise my kids and help mold them into happy, responsible adults. I already know the balance will have to shift and I won’t get it right everyday. But when I see my future, this is the vision I have for myself.

I’ve always thought about what I want to do in life, but never about something I don’t want to do. Sure, there are jobs I won’t ever want or foods I’ll never eat. But those are small things when you think about your life. After thinking long and hard, I realized I don’t want to ever see someone die. I know this is probably going to happen regardless of my opinion. I don’t want to see someone take their last breath and I especially don’t want to make the life or death decision for someone else. I’m sure one day I will have to make that painful decision for a loved one, to choose their destiny for them. But, if I could escape life without witnessing death, I would.

What do you hope to do during your life? Anything you absolutely wish you won’t have to do? Please share with me!

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