“Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself”

The above quote is one of my favorites from Gabrielle Bernstein. Gabby uses the phrase as a call to get rid of all the crap in your life that is blocking you from your true self. I think this is a great mantra for your career path and day-to-day work life as well, but my version comes with a little tough love.

It’s not uncommon to feel like a victim of what is happening to you in work or the job search. When your pitch goes unanswered, your boss is too busy to meet, or your resume has gotten no responses, it can feel like the universe is working against you. Here’s a little harsh reality – if you turn the problem inward and see what you can do about it personally, often you can find an answer and shake up the pattern. The victim mentality (“This is just busy work”/”Everyone is ignoring my cover letter”/”I’m just not good enough to get the job I love”) does you no favors.

Here are a few ways you can “check yourself before you wreck yourself” at work:

Get in front of the mirror and be honest - Time to get real. What lies are you telling yourself about your work? Are you pretending to be dedicated to the job search but doing little more than a quick indeed.com hunt once a day? Do you get negative about a task you hate doing, so you rush it and make mistakes only to make you hate it more? Give yourself the good, hard truth. Are you really doing your best work, or are nasty little negative thoughts and intentions messing it up?

Start from scratch - Whenever I want a new start, I write out all of my negative thoughts and worries until I can’t write anymore. Through all the rants, I pull out what REALLY needs to be addressed (my resume needs to be reworked, I need to get out of office politics), and I trash the rest. You can start with a new, clean slate and a fresh impression. That’s the beauty of having a career – if you think you’re stuck in a rut, there is almost always a way out if you look with a fresh pair of eyes.

Surround yourself with people who want to work hard too  – In my experience, workplace Negative Nancies either a)want to slack off and not do any work for a number of reasons or b) Like to complain about work so it seems like they’re working hard or c)work far too hard, don’t help themselves, and are generally unhappy. Do you really want to be any of these three? Find people in your school, community or office who you admire for their work ethic. Take them to lunch or notice their note-taking habits in a meeting. Pick up some good habits for yourself – these are free gifts!

See yourself succeeding - If you picture yourself happy at your job on a daily basis, down to what you do each morning at your desk and the lunch break you take midday, I guarantee you will get there. It might not be tomorrow, but if you start thinking about what would make you happy at work and strive towards that in every way you can, I promise you’ll find you are inherently working harder and opportunities will open for you. Just the way karma likes to pay the positive people back.

 

Do you find yourself in a personal wreck and not sure how to get out? How do you check yourself?

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The Twenty Something Bucket List

Making lists and batching tasks-love this concept for organizing my to-do list.

I’m celebrating my birthday today (at work, doing desksides – don’t worry) which always brings up a fun feeling of a “new year” ahead. I know I just wrote about keeping your mind open and away from a check list, but there are definitely a few milestones and bucket list items I’m looking forward to crossing off this year. Even if you’re still trying to figure out “who you are” and what you’re about, I do think it’s good to have some short term or passion-point goals to keep you moving and thinking. You may just find yourself while on the journey. Here’s what’s on my list:

  • Take more photographs (for the blog, and for life)
  • Find my go-to specialty recipe
  • Run the New York City Marathon (training starts this week!)
  • Read just as many non-fiction books as fiction (and watch just as many documentaries as Orange is the New Black episodes)
  • Inspire a new client campaign and see it through to the end
  • Host a real, adult dinner party
  • Go to a wine tasting (or whiskey tasting)
  • Meditate every day (or try to!)
  • Bring host/hostess gifts to every party
  • Volunteer for a local NYC organization

What is on your Twenty Something Bucket List?

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Creating Your Dream Apartment on a Budget

ApartmentLiving

We frequently receive emails with questions about moving to New York and living in a big city on a budget. I wrote a few posts the past few months while I was looking for an apartment, and now that Adrianna and I finally have a new camera I plan on posting more on the decorating process. Have to be honest, it’s a little intimidating! There’s a lot to think about when making your new apartment a home, and to me it’s one of the most important parts of the move-in process. If I don’t make my place a welcoming sanctuary from crazy-city life, things get a little nuts.

With a little planning and thought, you can have a dream apartment in a city without headache.  Here are a few things to consider:

Be honest about your space - Are you in a little shoebox studio? A strangely arranged railroad style apartment? No kitchen to be had? It’s okay to be honest about your apartment’s flaws. Decor is all about embracing the quirks and bringing out the best in your apartment. Don’t work against what you cannot change. By picking the right sized furniture and complementing colors, your space can feel much larger and more cohesive than it actually is. Which leads to…

Work the assets - This is an easy way to make a big impact in your apartment on the cheap. For me, that’s the sunshine that comes into my bedroom that practically lights up the whole space. I plan on keeping most of my walls white to keep things bright and only adding soft, breezy curtains for night. Maybe your apartment has a faux fireplace or a long wall that can be used for a gallery wall. The easiest way to bring a “homey” feel to your apartment is with properly placed accents, and things like prints from Etsy or a new paint color can be found for little cost.

Figure out what you like – I have to give big credit to Pinterest here. Before the site, I had no idea what my decor taste was. After many years and a LOT of pins, I figured out that I really like mid-century modern designs with a lot of color and modern trends. And yes, I embrace my feminine side with lots of flowers, blues and pinks. Head to Pinterest and just start pinning EVERYTHING that appeals to you. When you’ve gathered 100 or more, look at the elements that are similar in each photo. Maybe it’s soft lighting and candles with a white couch. Maybe you like punches of color in the kitchen. Maybe you see metallics everywhere, including in fabrics. Embrace your taste, and find a way to highlight it in each room with pillows, bed spreads, or fun accessories.

Don’t buy into high prices - Especially on your first few urban apartments, it’s silly to spend too much on furniture and accessories. Chances are you will be moving every couple years, and your furniture may not be able to come with you. I may settle on a piece that I really want (aka “I NEED A GREY COUCH!”), but I’ll look EVERYWHERE to find it. Once I’ve found a price point I can feel good about, I make a purchase, even if it isn’t the exact replica of the Pottery Barn couch I’ve been dreaming of (one day… it will be mine).

I’ll be posting more on the blog about apartment living, tips and tricks. You can check out my apartment inspiration board on Pinterest here.

 

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In Defense of Having No Idea What to Do with Your Life

Mseng No idea

I’m often told that I have it “all figured out.” I have a career path, I have a blog that I share with my best friend, I live in the best city in the world (such an unbiased statement, I know), and I’m surrounded by friends and family that I care deeply about. It may seem that I’ve checked every box on the list, but I think that’s only if you have a list to begin with. In reality, I’ve just started to conquer the goals and aspirations I had for my life and there is a long adventure ahead of me. Most of the time… I have no idea what I’m doing.

When I applied for college and well into my sophomore year, I had not a hint of what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I wanted to be creative and I knew I wanted to be out of my comfort zone. I knew I wanted to write, but I didn’t want to be stuck in a cubicle or writing about something that didn’t interest or inspire me. That’s very little to go on. All I did know was that I wanted to be in New York and I wanted to be happy. Now that college years are behind me, I’m still trying to figure it all out. I might be more stable than I was just out of college, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have my fair share of “soul-searching” ahead of me. And you know what, I’m all for it. I almost welcome the confusion, the curiosity and the jitters that come with not having a clue what to do with your life. And here’s why:

You’re open to every possibility - Those who have a “plan” or a “timeline” are often close minded and have the blinders on. It would be lovely to have your life plotted out for you and to have complete control over what’s going on. Universal truth – we don’t. Almost always things go NOT according to plan and if they do, usually it’s not in the way you expected. So throw that timeline out the window! When you’re open to what could be ahead, some real miracles happen. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it’s unknown. But with a little hard work you could be getting what you wanted all along, just better.

You are stronger for it – With little idea what to do with your life, you may take some chances or go down a few roads that are just not right. That’s how you learn. In college I had a 5 month stint at an advertising agency that was just not right for me. Never regretted moving away from advertising after that. My first real job after college lasted me 4 months until I jumped ship and found an agency that really worked for me. You may have not taken the pretty path, but you’re wiser now.

You will see opportunity around every turn - So long as you put yourself out there and continue to work hard, you’ll see opportunities  knocking at your door like you never imagined. It may not be a top-five-dream-PR-firm or an up-and-coming-fashion-designer begging you to work for them, but it will be something scrappy or full of new experiences. Maybe it will require some skills that will need to be self-taught. Maybe it’s for a company you never thought you would have an interest in. Try it out! Worst case, you hate it but stick it out for a little bit and you then have the experience to find your dream job. That doesn’t sound so bad.

How about you? Do you have a clue what to do with your life? If not, do you find it to benefit you or hold you back?

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