It’s an exciting time to be an American.
Many of the cultural norm dinosaurs that generations have accepted (sexual assault, anyone?) are coming under the gun. Citizens that have spent their entire life as armchair political commentators are taking action, filing to run for office, starting nonprofits, and showing up to protests, petitions, and other policy-changing initiatives.
Even the most apathetic, apolitical individual is finding their community and their values at risk of powerful players championing status quo or radical evolution. The challenging American political climate is impacting everyone, from all walks of life, and inspiring many to become more active than they ever thought was possible.
Having a society of community-invested citizens is a great thing; however, being an effective activist can be kinda complicated in our super information-saturated world. As many of my (and probably your) Facebook friends continue to demonstrate, posting 400 mocking, politically charged memes into their social media-facilitated echo chamber of cloned colleagues doesn’t exactly translate into making our world a better place.
Work-balance has become a premium commodity, partially due to technology’s uber-connectedness facilitating a workday that just never ends, and partially due to the lingering effects of a Great Recession where (most) everyone is just grateful to have a job (even if it does require 60+ hours a week).
While tech innovations were supposed to make our lives easier, and changing employee demographics were expected to refocus the American workplace on non-work-related aspects of life (community, family, and health), the average U.S. full-time employee is clocking just under 50 hours a week (approximately six days a week) and reporting decreasing quality of life standards as they progress through their economically-slumped career.
For those of us that got our professional start mid-Recession (looking at you, fellow Millennials), it can be increasingly difficult to not just “take what we can get” work-wise, as ending up unemployed, homeless, and defaulted on our student loans isn’t ever that far from reality.
If you’re like me, juggling the work-stuff with the personal stuff often comes at the expense of well-being.
Starting my business, I was completely lost when it came to pricing my services. I was terrified that I’d price my work too high, a mistake that could cost many tons of customers, or price way too low, a mistake that could cost me tons of money. Either way, pricing my offerings was (initially) a huge headache, surrounded by weeks of agonizing anxiety over whether or not my rates were “too high” or “too low”.
Truth it, selecting the right price tag can mean the difference between losing money or making money – in more ways than one. The wrong price can leave the entrepreneur missing would-be revenue, losing money on each sale, not selling anything, or unable to fulfill orders cost effectively. Any way you approach the pricing dilemma, research your competitor’s prices and undercutting them isn’t exactly a dream-formula for perfect price selection.
A good internship can set you up for your dream career.
Internships help you grow your professional network, build your portfolio, and gain boots-on-the-ground experience that will give you a leg-up on other new grads. It also gives you an opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at an industry or organization that you may be interested in working in and determine if it’s a good fit for your future.
Like many things career-related, internships are often opportunities to get out what you put in.
Here are four ways to make the most of your internship:
Houses have never really meant that much to me.
Maybe it’s because I lived in over fourteen different ones before turning 18.
Maybe it’s because I ended up upside down on my very first house purchase, thanks to the mortgage crash of 2008.
Maybe it’s because all my most treasured memories take place outside my house – on a desolate beach at dawn, breathing in the 14,000 ft view that inspired the authorship of “America the Beautiful”, or snuggled up to my soldier post-deployment in temporary military housing.
Houses – big or small – don’t seem to make much of a difference to the inhabitants regarding the quality of life. I’ve known many a miserable person to live a 7,000 customized square feet, and met many a happy individual to have little more than a tent to call their “home”.
This post was originally posted on LinkedIn Pulse in 2015. Unfortunately, many of the employment challenges discussed have yet to be effectively alleviated within the military community. It’s my hope that through continued advocacy and awareness, military spouses and caregivers will be economically valued and no longer discriminated against in the competitive job market.
Did you know that a sector of the military community is 90% jobless or underemployed?
Did you know this sector earns 38% less than their civilian counterparts?
Did you know that even those with doctorate experience unemployment of 15.56%?
Meet the Military Spouse: a dedicated individual that pledges loyalty and devotion to the brave men and women in uniform. The military spouse commits to frequent relocation, spouse absence for months to years at a time, foregoing professional opportunities that conflict with service demands, and is often left to pick up the pieces where subpar government programs leave off.
Attending conferences can be a great way for professionals to grow their networks, gain new skills, and stay up-to-date on industry trends.
However, in the very male-dominated world of technology, being the lone woman attending many of the tech-oriented events can be frustrating. A female colleague of mine just returned from an employer-sponsored tech conference where she was one of eleven women in attendance (over 600 attendees in total). She said there was more gender equality in a college frat house than at the conference.
Focusing on female-friendly tech conferences, I put together a list of well-reputed events that prioritize gender parity both in speaker line-up and attendees. A few of the listed conferences are all female, others include both genders but have a reputation for being inclusionary (not too bro fest-like).
Student debt is a big deal for many millennials.
That “educational investment” yield a lower ROI than expected?
Over 40 million Americans currently struggle with student loans, with the national burden of federal student debt rising over $1 trillion.
The average student debt load for today’s millennials recently registered at over $35,000 – a financial obligation that can put the “no-go” on many costly life events, such as getting married, having kids, and buying a home. A 2015 survey by Bankrate indicated that 56 percent of people ages18 to 29 have put off major life events – even purchasing a car and saving for retirement – because of student debt.
Many of you may be thinking, “Yep – that’s me!”
As described in the Willie Nelson song “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys”, I’ve had “things” for all-things ranching since an early age.
While other girls were playing with Barbies and wearing tutus, I spent my time tending a Breyer horse herd and clambering around in fringed cowboy boots. There was always only one thing I wanted to grow up to be: a cowgirl. Not a poufy hair rodeo queen cowgirl (I ended up doing that briefly, due to my need for scholarships), but a real-life, cowpoke with land, cattle, and horses to her name.
Hence, one of the first places I’d longed to see since we received orders to move to Kansas was the legendary Wild West town of Dodge City.
I started blogging five, almost six, years ago.
Not sure what prompted my interest in online publishing. A suppressed photojournalism interest? Compounding frustration from an unfruitful post-grad job hunt? My millennial-attempt at trying to find a solution to the whole Great-Recession-killed-our-careers? Who knows.
My first blog post was a 2,500-word essay on job interviews (APA-style referencing included). Ew.
I wish I could say the next post was better, but that’s probably a stretch. Blogging, like most new skills, took awhile to get the hang of. Writing styles, SEO, images – were all new concepts to a fresh academic. I watched a lot of YouTube videos, joined some Facebook groups, and read everything the Content Marketing Institute put out on blogging.
Over time, and a few dozen courses, I began to feel more comfortable with sharing my journey online.