My Job Tips for Millennials in the Workforce

workforce

Hey everyone! Thanks for checking out the seventh and final post in my How to Create a Wellness Lifestyle series. Today, we’re going to be talking about career wellness, which I’m surprisingly passionate about! Since one’s job is such a cultural focus in the United States, I hate to see people miserable at work or unable to break into the field that they’re passionate about. I’ve only been working for four years now, but I feel like I’ve had a wide variety of experiences that have taught me valuable lessons. So for all of you fresh to the workforce, here are my favorite tips:

 

Internships get your foot in the door to difficult industries.

Let me be clear- I think that not getting paid to work is the absolute worst. But the truth is that it’s part of our current American work culture, so we can’t ignore it. There are so many recent college grads who are willing to to work an unpaid internship to get experience that you likely can’t afford to stand up against the injustice. Lots of industries are highly competitive, so you probably won’t get a paid job in them unless you’ve had internships beforehand. Every industry I’ve been previously interested in is an example of this- interior design, study abroad, and event planning.

As a sophomore in college, I got a summer internship with the famous interior designer Phoebe Howard. She’s all over magazines across the US, so do you think I would be able to get a paid, entry level position without her testing me out through an internship first? Hell no! It’s the same with event planning. I only got a paid job where I was able to create $150,000 events for multinational corporations, because I’d helped (unpaid) with a bazillion events in college. Oh, you want a paid job in study abroad without an internship? Not gonna happen. I worked in study abroad planning with UGA and Harvard, and even then it’s hard to find paying jobs in the industry. There’s just so much competition in many industries!

Do some unpaid work in your industry where you live now, and save up some money. Then, when you have enough moolah to get you through a season in NYC or Boston or SF, find a really prestigious internship with a company you admire. If you perform well and get recommendations, you’ll have an awesome paid job in your dream industry in no time!

 

Don’t be afraid to ask for the position you want- even if it’s not posted or doesn’t exist yet.

I’d like to tell you a surprising fact. Out of the variety of jobs that I’ve had in college and after graduation, not a single one of them was listed as an open position on the company website or on any other job search engine. I didn’t find any of them using this common method, and I’ve never applied to a job through a website. Truth be told, I never formally applied to any of them at all! Here’s my method using the event planning industry as the example:

  • I research online to find all of the event planning related businesses in the area and make a list. If you’re living in a city it should be a big list of about 40-60 companies.
  • Check out each of their websites and read all of their information to see if it feels like a nice place to work and to see if they have a reputable portfolio of events. If the website looks like it’s from the 1990’s, I say “no” right away- they obviously have no respect for their business image.
  • Once I’ve narrowed it down to the companies that I would be interested in talking to (usually 15-20 businesses in a city), I craft up an email to introduce myself to them and show my interest. In it, I briefly discuss why I’m interested in their company, my past work background, and what I could do for them. The body should be concise and broken into topical paragraphs- my email was 167 words.
  • I finish off by saying something like, “If you have any job opportunities available, I would love to become part of your team. My resume is attached. Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.”
  • You can find the contact email for each business on their website- you just might have to search a bit. Sometimes it’s on the “about” page, or sometimes it’s on the “contact” page. If there isn’t an email to send job inquiries, I always go for the boss’s email. Use the contact form on a website only as a last resort.
  • Do not send a group email! Remember to personalize it for each company and business owner you’re sending it to. You’re definitely not going to get the job if you send an email addressing the wrong event planning company!
  • Proofread, attach a nice resume, and send! Good luck! 😀
  • You should hear back from the businesses within the next week if they have any open positions. Set up an interview from there. The most recent time I tried this method I got 5 responses saying that they had an open position. I ended up working for the company that I liked best out of the whole group!

Using this method of cold emailing companies give you an edge. When you apply through a job search engine or an open posting that the company put on their website, literally hundreds of people apply. You’d have to fight your way through a talented crowd. You have a much better chance of getting a job when it’s not being advertised. Like I said, that’s how I’ve gotten all of my jobs! Email away!

 

Always stand up for yourself (respectfully) in difficult work situations.

Bosses and coworkers don’t respect people that they can walk all over. This is hard to learn, but always true. Do you want to be the person who gets used and abused at work? I don’t! I can understand why people would be afraid of confronting others. We’re worried that we’ll get yelled at and make an enemy, or that we could even get fired. From my experience, as long as your stand up for yourself in a polite way, you’ll be fine.

I’m not going to say where I was working, but I will tell you that my bosses were absolutely crazy. They were judgmental and full of attitude, insulting and yelling at people in the office all day. It was a very fast paced job, but I work well under pressure. Anyway, I was given an event project to finish in 4 full days- I would have to work quickly, but I’d have the time to double check all of the budgeting so that it’s perfect for the client. On the morning of Day 2, my boss tells me that I need to have the project done in only 6 hours now, just because she wants me to work on a different project later in the day. As you could imagine, I’m frantic because that’s an impossible deadline. I do finish in time, but it’s not near the quality that I like my event proposals to have. My boss checks it over and starts badgering me about all of the tiny mistakes in it. My face is starting to boil. She finally says, “What is this? Are you stupid?” And I reply very sternly, “No, I am not stupid. If you’d allowed me the proper time required of a project this size, you know there wouldn’t be any of those mistakes. You set me up for failure.”

She apologized and didn’t say much the rest of the day- like she was embarrassed. But after that, she treated me with much more kindness and respect. I later learned from other employees who’d been there longer than me that she preys on people who show themselves to be weak. Apparently, she made one woman cry everyday until she quit. I could have just taken all the blame and said to her, “I’m sorry for the mistakes ma’am… I’ll be better next time.” But the fact that I stood up to her unfairness is what made her respect and like me. She actually loved me after that day- I soon asked for a raise and to be able to work from home most days, and she said “yes” to both requests! Don’t be afraid to stand up to injustice in the office. Your boss may be surprised that you took a stand, but that shock almost always turns into respect.

Tip: If you want a raise or some other major improvement in your job, you have to have confidence. If they refuse to give you what you want, you need to be prepared to give your two weeks notice. If you stay there, why would they ever give you a raise? You just showed that you’d stay without one! Your power is now gone.

 

If the job doesn’t feel right for your soul, change it.

Everyone has their own worldview, and in mine, I believe that we don’t have to suffer unnecessarily in our careers. If you hate your job, please save up some money, figure out your new plan, and then quit. I’m tired of people in the US saying that they have to stay in their terrible, soul-sucking job in order to support their family (or other excuse). That’s almost always a cop-out. There are single mothers all across the US right now getting a college degree in their passion subject while also working and raising a child. You think you have less time than them?! No, you don’t. You just don’t want to reach your dreams as much. They are working so hard because they want to make their goals and passions a priority.

So question yourself- if you’re feeling blocked to go towards your dream career, what is the real reason? Are you afraid to fail? Worried it will be too challenging? Scared of what people will say about you? Upset that you’ll have to change your lifestyle? Be honest with yourself about what’s stopping you. It will be hard, but it’ll be worth it. Make your job happiness a priority. And if there isn’t a job that suits your passions, create a new one for yourself!

 

There you have it- a little tough love for all of us Millennials. The truth is, I want everyone to feel satisfied with their lives and careers. I believe it’s entirely possible and hope that you’re gutsy enough to believe that too. So get out there and make a happy life for yourself. It’s all in your hands! Do you have any career advice or job experiences that you’d like to share? What is your dream job? Please share in the comments. We’d love to know! 🙂

Enjoy the rest of your week,

xo Caylee

 

What Spirituality Means to Me

spirituality

Hey there! Thanks for being here to check out part three of my series- How to Create a Wellness Lifestyle. This week’s topic is about spiritual wellness, but I’m not going to talk about what you should do to be healthy in this area of life. Spirituality is many things to many people, and I know that the journey to find its place in our lives is a personal one. After all, some get in touch with their spirituality with a more traditional, church-going experience. Others feel connected to a higher power while meditating, volunteering to help people in need, or even surfing!

What I do urge you to do is discover what spirituality means to you. You don’t have to believe in any particular god or in any god at all. Perhaps love is your deity, and you find your higher purpose being kind to others and lifting their spirits. The point is that spirituality, in any form, allows you to find deeper meaning in your existence. Having it in your life gives hope and support during hard times and confidence when you’re feeling fearful. Spirituality strengthens your personal value system. Plus, as I read in Blue Zones, people with spirituality in their lives tend to live longer! The purpose that it gives you, combined with providing a deeper sense of calm and greater community belonging, extends the lifespan greatly.

Since we all have our own take on spirituality, I challenge you to find where it can fit in your life. Check out some books- I loved Like the Flowing River by Paulo Coelho, The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo, and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Try out new religious services that have interested you, or just figure out what makes you feel connected to something bigger than yourself. This is an area of my wellness that I’m not as connected to, so I’ll need to explore deeper as well!

 


What I’ve found is that spirituality can be found just as easily in the magic of small moments as in the wonder of large moments. So it’s about to get personal- here are the activities and experiences I’ve found that get me in touch with my spiritual side:

To me, spirituality is… feeling beautiful moments of connection and transcendence during travel. I went to Paris when I was in high school and walked up the steep, cobblestone streets of Montmatre during the first night there. Once I got to the top, the highest point in the city, millions of buildings and the Eiffel Tower glittered down below. It was gorgeous. But towering right next to me was the stunning, white Basilica ‎Sacré-Cœur, and I was drawn in. The warm interior of the cathedral engulfed my emotions with the nuns singing softly by candlelight and the giant gold mural soaring overhead. I was immediately filled with a sense of bursting joy in my chest- all at once, I felt peacefully connected to everything and that life was so unimaginably amazing. It was a beautiful experience. Now, I’m actually not Catholic, but if that wasn’t the most spiritually moving moment in my life, then I don’t know what was!

To me, spirituality is… a magical “coincidence” that pops into my life just when I need it most. In my junior year of college, I’d been single for about a year and hadn’t met any guys who I really *clicked* with. I was feeling really down about not being able to find a good guy, so I wrote out a super elaborate list of every trait that I wished for in my ideal boyfriend. Sounds silly, but I put my heart into this list- a guy who makes me laugh, who has the same values as me, who is kind and helpful to everyone, and who surprises me with loving, thoughtful gestures. I went into WAY more detail, but I’m not going to embarrass myself here! Flash forward two weeks later where I’m at a Christmas party with some sorority sisters. Wine in hand, I say in frustration, “I’m over men… I refuse to date anyone for the whole next year!” Then in walks this cute guy who I met in passing at a bar with my girl friend the week before. Tonight though, his eyes land on mine, remembering me. We proceed to talk excitedly about all of our shared passions, and I just feel something special. I feel sure… like I know he’s going to become my boyfriend. By the end of the night, our first date is scheduled, and my sorority sisters make fun of my now defunct, anti-men declaration. Flash forward: He turns out to be the exact guy that I described in my list, and we end up dating for years. His appearance in my life was the biggest “coincidence” I’ve ever experienced- now I’m a true believer in the power of asking the universe for exactly what you want!

To me, spirituality is… my bond with nature. Whenever I’m alone and surrounded by the forest or in front of a gorgeous vista, I feel something sweep through me and fill me with energy. In those moments outdoors, I feel so alive and connected with all of the universe. Nature is just perfect- ecosystems that sustain themselves, the symmetry of flowers, the hydrologic cycle, butterfly metamorphosis, and all that’s in between. And have you ever read about Fibonacci numbers and the Golden Ratio? The same mathematical ratio appears in everything from eggs to sunflowers to hurricanes to seashells to galaxies to waves- it’s amazing. The perfection of nature is mindbogglingly beautiful, and I can’t help but feel an intense higher connection to it all.

To me, spirituality is… feeling centered and like my true self during yoga class. During yoga, I’m not worrying about any of my problems outside the class. My mind is focused on breath-work and moving into the various poses. I’m completely in my body- present in each moment. This rare moment of freedom away from my often anxious brain allows me to center myself. It’s then that I realize that life isn’t about all of the issues my mind worries about. In these moments of mental freedom, I can connect back with a higher purpose and let go of my malicious ego, being the realest version of myself.

To me, spirituality is… my inner voice guiding me out of my deepest depression when I was younger. Prepare yourself- this next story might make me sound like a woo woo hippy. So I was really depressed during middle school and parts of high school and felt desperate to try anything that might get me out of this pit of nothingness. At a book store, I found a workbook about discovering your inner goddess and knew I had to give it a try. I had my moment of awakening during a 20-minute meditation exercise that the book led me through. During the experience, I felt energy surge through my body and mind that I’d never felt before. A beautiful woman radiating with light proceeded to have a loving conversation with me, answering all of my fear-filled questions about life and the future. This goddess in my meditation believed in me, and showed me the kindness and support that I truly needed at that time in my life. Once I came out of my meditation, I no longer felt depressed- I felt light and hopeful about my life. Though minor depression has reoccurred in years since, I’ve never felt as deep in despair since the goddess in my mind spoke to me. Call it my inner voice, intuition, or a guardian angel- all I know is that it made me see the beauty in life again.

 


So now that you’ve learned all of the diverse ways that spirituality shows up in my life, what does spirituality mean to you? Have you had any big spiritual moments in your life that give you a deeper since of wellness? Please let me know in the comments below- I’d love to hear your story! 🙂

Have a wonderful day,

xo Caylee

5 Things I’ve Learned About Life This Summer

shining light quote

1. Your community doesn’t have to be made up of the people in your town.

In this age of the internet where people from all over the world can connect over Twitter, Facebook, and a variety of other social media forms, why not take full advantage of this opportunity? I used to scoff at getting deeply involved in social media, because I thought it was a waste of time- that is, until I started utilizing it for my blog. And now, in just the past two months, I’ve met some of the coolest lady bloggers online! From my experience, it can be difficult making new friends in your community once you’re out of college, because often times, you’re just waiting for a serendipitous event to bring you in contact with friendly and interesting people. Instead of restricting yourself to only forming business and friendship connections with the people in your local community, think outside of those social limits. I’ve been meeting amazing people who share many of my common goals and interests though participating in fun Twitter parties and inspiring Facebook groups. If you’re not feeling supported by your friends at home, perhaps your soul people are waiting to connect with you from other cities!

2. I’m the best version of myself when I’m on the go and traveling.

When Stefan and I were vacationing in Costa Rica a few months ago, he remarked that I’m so much happier and energetic when I’m traveling. I would hop right out of bed at the break of dawn, and I’d be ready to explore for the whole day. I felt exactly the same when I was on my recent road trip up the East Coast- pumped to try anything fresh that came my way. I thrive on a combination of being busy and inspired, rolling in momentum over stagnancy. But traveling and being on the go is surely not what makes everyone the best version of themselves. It’s important for each of us to listen to our bodies and realize when we feel most energetic and in the flow of things. Then, do more of it!

3. Just because you follow your passion doesn’t mean success will come quickly.

Wouldn’t it would be wonderful if dream jobs and amazing lifestyles came easily to us all? Though I do believe that part of the struggle is just letting go of our ego and ignoring what other people want for our life, it really is true that work is inevitable. I could spend all day writing articles, marketing on social media, reading coaching books, and learning tips for small businesses. Even though I have a deep love for this whole business building process, it’s hard on the days when I feel like I didn’t get anywhere. I always have to remind myself that it takes time to become successful. So here are my thoughts- if we’re all going to work long hours to make it big and earn money in any industry we choose, why not pick the path that makes us happiest? It’s a no-brainer. That’s why I’m starting from the bottom and working hard to become a coach and blogger. It’ll still be a challenge, but at least I’ll be in love with my job.

4. When you follow what makes you happy, you’ll give off a shining light that attracts amazing people.

Which traits are most appealing to you: joyful, kind, and inspired OR bitter, selfish, and dull? I’m assuming you picked the former. From my experience, the more you embody these positive personality traits, the more people you attract into your life who value the same positivity in life. Truth: I can be the sassiest person on earth, but I was tired of the negativity and dramatic things that were being drawn to me. Instead, for the past couple of years, I’ve been trying to act from a place of love and understanding in every situation that I’m met with. Is it difficult at times? Hell yes. Does it sound hippy-ish to do that? Probably. But does it make me a happier person? No question about it. The best part is that during conscious attitude change the negative people naturally distance themselves from you and the positive people stick to you like a magnet.

5. On that note, you have to accept and set free the people/ things that are drifting away from your life.
Struggling and fighting to keep them with you isn’t allowing the natural course of life to take place. Let it flow. Though it can be challenging, let them go in a peaceful, loving way. It’ll hurt you and make you feel all alone, but I believe that if they were meant to be in your life, they would be. And if they’re meant to come back into your life in the future, they will.

So what are the biggest things you’ve learned about yourself, or about life, this summer? Please share with me in the comments below!

Have a great end of the week,

xo Caylee

 

When Is the Best Time to Start a Goal?

say yes to now sky graphic

To start off, I have two questions for you to answer honestly:

Do you have any life goals or personal projects that you keep putting off for another day? Does the guilt of not beginning it nag at you constantly?

Don’t feel alone in these habits- Postponing goals and passions is one of the most common problems people face. I’ve definitely struggled with this issue too, and still do at times, because it’s so easy to get stuck in the trap of telling yourself that you’ll get to it eventually. But, as an example, we all know how that story went in college.

At the beginning of each semester, your professors passed out a syllabus outlining all of the required projects and specific test dates for the upcoming several months. The whole class would know exactly when a paper was due from the first day of school, but how many of us waited until the very last minute to complete any of that work? If you’re not raising your hand, you’re the oddball here.

This experience from college is a metaphor for life. Just like we procrastinate writing a 20-page research paper that’s crucial for getting a good grade in class, we put off important things in our life thinking we’ll have plenty of time to do them in the future. Well, we won’t. Life will get in the way. Things might get messy, and two months of putting off your dreams will suddenly turn into twenty years. You don’t want to be trying to cram in all of your best life experiences at retirement age like you’re trying to cram during an all-nighter for an 8:00 AM test.

I’m not saying that you should dramatically quit your job today, backpack the world, and grow flowing dreadlocks- Unless that’s your heart’s dream, and in which case, go for it! What I am urging you to do is take this one small step:

Take five minutes to focus in on something that makes you truly excited. The type of “excited” where you feel heart pumping, bright-eyed energized. It can be a person, place, thing, goal, whatever! Then ask yourself how you can integrate that more into your daily life, even in the smallest way. Act on these thoughts immediately. Like, right now.

Take me as an example. I completely adore writing, and I’ve been so crazily happy since I started expressing myself on this blog on a regular basis. I could have just put off my happiness and told myself that I’ll start a blog in the future, but I decided I was so sick of putting off my dreams. I wrote my first post right then and there which gave me the excited energy to write another one the next day (and so on).

Writing a couple posts per week might not seem like much now, but let’s do this math. I’m about to turn 25 years-old- If I keep writing only until the young age of 40, then I still wrote regularly for 15 years with a total of about 1,500 blog posts!! I’d be a writing and coaching expert by then!

Now what can you do with that precious time if you take little steps everyday to further your goals? Just start now. Don’t keep making excuses and then feeling guilty about it. Take the teeniest step today and then another one tomorrow, and by the end of the week, you’ll be proud of yourself and rolling in momentum.

Please let me know in the comments below what baby steps you’ll be taking today, alongside me, to further your passions. I’d love to know so that I can keep motivating you along the way!

Have a beautiful day,
xo Caylee

 

The Gutsy Girl’s Summer Bucket List

Grab a pencil and paper, guys. It’s not too late to start making an awesome summer bucket list.

In my eyes, all fleeting things in existence deserve a bucket list to be made for them. They seem to create a sense of urgency in the way that we only have a set amount of time to finish something meaningful to us. A bucket list allows us to remember our goals more easily and gives a sense of achievement when we can mark our pen through each item.

There has been a bucket list for all occasions – One for all of the new things I wanted to try before college graduation a few years ago, one for what I hope to accomplish before I turn 30 years-old, one for all of the big ticket experiences I want to have before I die… And one for awesome activities to do this summer.

Since summer is already half-way over, I’m gonna have to move quickly to cross everything off of my list! For the record, I’ve never once completed all of the items on any of my dozens of bucket lists, but I have a special feeling about this summer. It’s going to be a crossing-off-my-bucket-list-bonanza! Want to join me? Here we goooooo!

 

  • Go to a local farmer’s market & learn some of the vendors’ stories. Getting to know where your food comes from can be such an interesting experience, and the farmers are often very passionate about what they do.
  • Learn something new & document your progress publicly. I would like to learn a new song, by heart, on my ukulele and then upload it onto the blog.
  • Plan a picnic at the park with someone meaningful in your life. Bring a supply of food you know they will love, and enjoy a few hours lounging outside together.
  • Try out a new type of yoga or fitness class that is outside of your comfort zone. Krav Maga? Kundalini yoga? A Bollywood dance fitness workout? Do it!
  • Make a new friend in your industry. Try to partner up on a small project, do a guest blog post swap, or interview each other for new business insights.
  • Finish 3 great books & write reviews to share with others who you think could benefit from reading them too.
  • Do something absolutely crazy – live with passion and purpose. Fall in love. Try an improv class. Start the amazing thing you’ve been too afraid to fail at. Be vulnerable and let your genuine, imperfect self be seen. Go whitewater rafting. Take a road trip. Just do something brave. Yes, please.
  • See a play or live show that is outside of what you’d normally enjoy. You might just discover something new to love!
  • Go on a nature hike & and make a mandala with all of the outdoor goodies you find along the way (twigs, flowers, rocks, leaves, etc).
  • Paint a canvas using just your intuition. Don’t plan it out and draw a picture with pencil beforehand – just create, wildly in the moment.

The Challenge:

So if you’re with me in trying to cross off this summer bucket list, let’s make a whole social media event out of it! Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to cross off as many of these list items as you can before September 1st. Use this blog as a jumping off point for inspiration! Write posts about your experience completing the bucket list challenges, and link back to this blog and let me know you’re participating. At the beginning of September, I’ll do a blog roll featuring your links and the awesome bucket list items you’ve achieved this summer. Also, if you’re a Twitter or Instagram fan, take this step below to feature our Gutsy Girl themed pictures together:

Think about it… We have a limited number of beautiful, bursting-with-life summers to enjoy in our time here on Earth. Be gutsy, and make this summer a passionate one. 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend,

xo Caylee