Tag Archives: Work

Beating the Summer Blues

Tomorrow is the first of August and I haven’t been to the beach yet. My normally sparkling tan is practically non-existent. Laying out in the sunshine during the summer is one of my favorite pastimes. Yet, it has rarely happened this summer. Why? Because this is the first summer I’ve worked full-time.

summertimeWhile I’ve had part-time summer jobs since I was thirteen, this is the first summer I’ve worked full-time (also known as my first summer as an adult). I will not complain about trading my bathing suit for a blazer since many are without jobs. However, it can be annoying to see others around my age hitting the beach or going for a mid-day swim while I’m in my cubicle.

As young professionals, working during the summer is something we have to accept and become comfortable with. Or else we will absolutely lose it! After reflecting on summer 2013 so far, here are some tips I came up with for combating the summer blues.

1. Fun is not just for the summer: Sure, there are a lot more enjoyable activities to do outside during the summer. But the opportunity for fun presents itself during all seasons. Try not to focus so much on the time of year but rather what activities are available for you and your friends to try out.

2. Take time off: I repeat: Schedule some time off during the summer! Maybe you can’t afford an actual vacation. That’s not an excuse to work all the time. Plan a stay-cation and go bast in the sunshine. No matter how busy summers are at work, I promise you can work with your supervisor to get some time off. You won’t feel like you’re missing out and you’ll come back to work recharged.

3. Take a walk: Yesterday after I picked up my lunch, I took a quick walk around the block. It was suchbeach a beautiful day that I couldn’t resist. I was away from my desk for 15 minutes and I can guarantee no one missed me. I took advantage of the perfect summer day and felt better when I returned to work.

4. Use time wisely: As tired as you might be on the weekends, don’t waste away on your couch in the air conditioning. Get outside and get moving! Plan day trips with family and friends. Try something new that you never thought of before (hello 5K!). Don’t mope around complaining about “missing summer” when you’re sleeping away the free time you do have.

While summer is nearing its end, I have a bunch of fun things planned in August, including time off! How do you survive summer at work? Is it actually harder than the other seasons? Share your thoughts!

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Motivation Mondays: Feel Again

Happy Monday! I’m glad to be back blogging after an amazing week in California. As always, I return from this business trip renewed and with more ideas and goals to accomplish.

As I’m sure you’ve come to learn, I am a people person. I gain my energy by being near people, having thought-provoking conversations and learning from others. So, OneRepublic’s song “Feel Again” completely resonates with me, especially after this week and weekend.

I headed out to California last weekend tired and lacking motivation of any sort. It felt like nine million things were going on in my life and that I just couldn’t keep up. I felt a little numb, like I was just going through the motions. That coupled with a wealth of uncertainty, a feeling I do not like or handle very well, made for an interesting few weeks personally and professionally.

Then I got onsite and spend 12-hour days with my team, a group of people from all over the country who join up live in living color a couple of times a year for a common purpose. Their passion and energy was contagious, their advise genuine and overall presence comforting. I could feel again.

Upon my arrival home, I headed to the suburbs of Pennsylvania for my friend’s bridal shower. I spent both Friday night and all day Saturday with my favorite girls from Temple. It was so great to catch up, share in their laughter and make new memories. I could feel again.

Sometimes it takes your people, your own personal army of rejuvenating forces, to bring you back to reality. Of course at times you’ll have to be your own motivation. But lucky for me, my people helped me to feel again. My sense of purpose both at work and personally is clear and I’m more determined than ever.

Have you ever felt numb and needed help getting unstuck? Share how you feel again!

Balancing The Growing Pains

“Growing up is never easy. You hold onto things that were; you wonder what’s to come. But that night, I think we knew it was time to let go of what had been, and look ahead to what would be – other days, new days, days to come. The thing is, we didn’t have to hate each other for getting older; we just had to forgive ourselves for growing up.” – The Wonder Years

Like many, I spend this past weekend relaxing and enjoying my Monday off. I headed down the shore with my two of my best friends to dance the night away. We watched the sun come up, slept for a couple of hours then ventured to the beach. Some would say we took it a little too far, but I call it making memories. However, we paid for our fun yesterday at work.

The last year has been filled with so many changes that haven’t been experienced by everyone in my group of friends. A handful of us are employed, commute to work and spend 8+ hours a day in front of a computer. Others are in graduate school; some are living on their own and others are still in school. All of our lives are different. At times, it doesn’t feel like all we do is work and yearn for the good old college days.

havefunOne thing I’ve learned in working during the last six months is that everyone deserves a work-life balance. Too often, you hear that term used with working parents and not with newly employed young adults. One way I’ve gotten a handle on this real-world thing is by making sure I balance everything in my life. The work-life balance is important for young adults because it:

  • Prevents burnout: As new faces in the workplace, most of us are eager to prove ourselves and will take on multiple assignments in order to do so. While this is admirable, it isn’t always realistic. 
  • Helps our friendships: See the quote above! My friends and I had a year of adjustments with misunderstandings about schedules, budgets and attitudes. We are all working so hard we tend to forget about our friendships…and that each of us is struggling with the adjustment. The frustration of opposite schedules and long-distance relationships often proves to be a challenge. BUT, we all are learning to balance and keep one another in check.
  • Improves the quality of our work: This speaks for itself. Working on a project at the 20th hour isn’t good for anyone involved and certainly won’t be your best work.
  • Puts the focus on our well-being: Work is important but so is our health. In college, your health is typically thrown out the window. Being conscious of the work-life balance allows for focusing on balance in all forms like what you’re eating and how often you’re working out.
  • Shows our parents we can do: Mom and Dad need to realize the work-life balance is a real thing now that their babies are adults. They’ll have to adjust too!

The team members I work with often help me achieve a better work-life balance. My friends and family also keep everything in perspective too. This weekend showed me that it is perfectly fine to take a much-needed break and enjoy time with my friends. I plan to focus more on the work-life balance and hope you do too!

Motivation Mondays: Sweet Silver Lining

I will admit and completely own that I was a cranky pants this past week. Work is insanely busy which is awesome but also exhausting. I have a bunch of exciting events coming up with my family and friends that require planning, coordinating and purchasing things. I certainly felt like time escaped me this weeks, like running so fast in quick sand and getting no where.

As Friday came and I ended my work week, I thought about what felt like the longest five days of my life. Yes, it was busy. Yes, it was stressful and yes, I felt like there was zero time to get anything done. BUT looking back, there were some sweet silver lining moments:

– The sun shined really bright this week. Maybe not every day, but at least a few.

Layout 1– The girls on my team at work are exceptional and made me feel like a rockstar this week, even after a few learning curve mistakes.

– Someone took the time out of their day to give me constructive feedback that I found very helpful.

– I sat on my couch Saturday night and did absolutely nothing. Hello paradise.

– Nana was the happiest I’ve seen her in months yesterday, with her daughters, grandchildren and a home-cooked meal before her. She was beaming, despite being in a neck brace and having a broken arm.

When you look at these instances, they are truly little moments; no major life-changing events or celebrity sightings. While during the week it was hard to see these moments, looking back, it’s times like these that are the most special and most memorable. No matter how rough your week or how bad your life seems, there’s always a sweet silver lining hidden somewhere. Remember to look for and be grateful for them.

Family Fridays: The Power of People

HigherI think I’ve mentioned this quote before on the blog. I believe in what it means and lived it out firsthand last week.

Self-confidence is has always been hard for me. I’d like to believe I’ve become better over the years, but I know there’s still room for improvement. Additionally, I can keep myself motivated usually because I know someone else I respect is relying on me. When all of this is taken into account, it’s easy to see how working virtually can be a struggle for me sometimes.

I was lucky enough to be with my entire team last week and reaped the benefits in more ways than one. Everyone had such a positive attitude that was contagious. You couldn’t help but feel happy and excited about the work you were doing. Each of us demands excellence and holds one another accountable. When excellence is a requirement, everyone strives to be better, reach higher and push themselves further.

More than anything, I completely felt part of a team, of a family last week. I’m finally comfortable andwe-are-what-we-repeatedly-do have earned my wings so to speak. We are like a family: we have each other’s backs, talk one another down and genuinely care about each other’s well being. This new family also continuously challenges me and pushes me far outside of my comfort zone, helping me to grow both personally and professionally.

The people you surround yourself with both at home and at work absolutely impact your attitude, behavior and decisions. Take advantage of this and use their positivity and ambition to thrust yourself forward. Remember to thank them occasionally too…a big thank you to the team I was with last week!

The Blurred Line

Having about six months of work experience under my belt, I’ve gotten to attend a handful of professional events. Most were conferences at hotels that lasted several days. The atmosphere at these conferences can be more relaxed than when working in the office. This environment coupled with the prospect of free alcohol, causal dress and music can be a bit dangerous.

Most people understand that they are at a work function and maintain a level of professionalism. But after attending some of these events, it’s easy to see how the line between personal and professional can be blurred quite quickly. I’ve met some amazing individuals while working and connected with them on both a personal and professional level. While I do consider some of them friends and sounding boards, there is still a line I’m not willing to cross like at a work event.

cross_lineIn my opinion, drinking helps to cloud your judgement and make you forget that you are actually at work with colleagues and superiors. However, alcohol consumption is not the only way to cross the personal/professional line. Over-sharing personal information, using foul language and busting an inappropriate dance move can all contribute to a loss in credibility. As a younger professional, that is the last thing I want to do. But I’ll admit, it was hard in California to remember I was working and not on vacation. We were at a great location, in casual clothing and had the opportunity to relax after working all day. One could easily get caught up in all of that.

Based off my experience at these conferences, here are a few tips I thought of to maintain the personal/professional balance:

1. If you drink, know your limits. I’m a fan of alternating: one drink then one glass of water.Work Husband

2. Dress causal but still appropriately. No ripped jeans or cut-offs. If your grandmother would be embarrassed seeing you in a certain outfit, don’t wear it.

3. If you want to have a personal conversation, do it away from the rest of the team and more importantly, away from attendees.

4. Schedule time outside of work to meet and catch up with work friends. It will be more fun that way!

When working onsite events, it is especially easy to unwind too much and forget you’re at work. No one is saying don’t build friendships at work or celebrate with your work friends. But there is a time and a place for that. A work event is about the attendees, not the onsite team. I’m grateful that my team set high standards onsite this past week. It absolutely helped me maintain my professionalism.

Motivation Mondays: Being Blessed

My apologies for being M.I.A for over a week AND for posting a little too late tonight. I was in California for work this week, so in my head, it’s only around 8pm. Much like the first time I worked this event, I came home with more insight about myself, how I work and who I work well with. I also built new relationships, some I’d even consider friendships with amazingly talented individuals. While I have a list of blog post ideas generated from my week away, today’s post is probably the most important lesson I learned in California.20130428-130305.jpg

One of the many amazing views in California

When I hear the word blessed, I immediately think religion. The priest blessed you, Jesus gave his blessing to the disciples, you get the picture. After a week of reflection on the current condition of my life, I felt overwhelming blessed. I have an amazing job with allows me to travel and work with the best of the best. My family is usually super supportive and I have the best friends anyone could ask for. I am truly blessed.

I could use the words fortunate or lucky but to me, those are feelings. Blessed is a state of being. Blessed is a mindset, a way to think about all the wonderful pieces that are part of your journey. As I headed out this morning to an overcrowded train on a rainy Monday, I tried very (and I mean very) hard to bring back the blessed state of mind I was in while away. At least I have a job to commute to.

I am not saying don’t complain. Everyone needs to vent; it is part of our human nature and is healthy. But, try to remember how blessed you are for the life you have. Even on the worst days, there is something to be thankful for. I know I am going to try harder to be humble and remember how blessed I am. I hope you will too and please keep me in check!

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