Archives for posts with tag: advice

 

I should write moreI haven’t written in a while.

It is easy to get caught up in daily work/life and forget about writing. I can use lots of excuses for not writing; “I was busy”, “There was nothing substantial to write about”, “I am not passionate enough about anything to write it down”, “I’m lazy”.

All of those excuses are fine in one way or another. However one thing is important to realize when you file through excuses and decide on one, the only person you are trying to convince is yourself.

I have come to the conclusion that it is good to write out thoughts, whether they are good or bad, worth sharing or worth keeping to yourself.

I have been writing for a few years now, and amid the times when I wrote a lot and the times I didn’t write at all, there is one truth to writing I still feel is worth sharing about writing: Authenticity of writing resonates with people.

So I may not always write, but if I do, I will try to keep it authentic.

The last six months have been the biggest transition of my entire life. I have experienced more change in that span than I could ever imagine.

In this time I have gone from a college student to a professional, I have gone from working in a nonprofit atmosphere to an agency environment, I have moved from Austin, Texas to Washington D.C., I have gone from financially dependent to completely self sustainable. On top of all those things, one of my best friends got married, my parents sold the house that I grew up in, and I just found out that I am going to be an uncle (congrats Steve).

All of this change is a bit overwhelming at times. You struggle to find places where you feel comfortable, the people you are around are completely different, and at times, yeah, you do miss the sanctity of what you once called home.

But then I remember the reason why all of these changes occurred; opportunity. My brother is starting down a family path, my parents are selling their house to grow their business, my friend wants to be with the one he loves forever, and I…

Well I was given a chance.

From my personal experience, I can say that change brings on a completely new set of challenges. But the question that always puts change into perspective is “what about the alternative?”

What if I, or the people around me, never took the leap?

I plan to use this to drive me further in the future. Change can be scary, and for those of you who can see change in front of you, do what you can with it! Because change isn’t there to force you to be something you’re not, it is there to drive you to what you can be.

My story has had some fun and interesting plot twists over the past few months, but it is nothing compared to your story, I can’t wait for you to share it with me.

 

Did you just graduate and still haven’t heard back from your interview? Is your savings account getting smaller by the second? Do you have a deadline to get a job?

Well congratulations.

Think about this. You have received a wonderful opportunity to see what kind of person you really are. How are you assessing the situation? Are you currently on summer vacation or have you done something about your job situation? If you have done something, what?

I recently read an article in the New York Times about how “The American Dream is Elusive for a New Generation.” I hear of so many stories of Millennials struggling to find a job. Some say there is no availability. Some say they can only land internships. Some cop-out on the fact that it is a rough economy.

I have a message to all those who are struggling: do something about it. This is a time where people are truly being tested. This means you should acknowledge the fact that it most likely won’t be easy. You should understand that. Understand that the situation lends itself to create doubt in yourself and ability. Being aware of the situational pressure will allow you to take some pressure off of your mental psyche.

Two mice fell into a vat of milk. The first mouse gave up a drowned. Be the second mouse and make butter and walk out.

The current job situation is analogous to any difficult class you had in college. There is most likely going to be a bell curve that outlines who gets the jobs and who sits at home. Assess your situation with that in mind; the talented are going to land a job. If you can justify to yourself that you are top talent, then you can use that explanation in an interview and get the job; because you really are as good as you think you are.

During any difficult times there are always going to be two things that get you through it.

1. Be Rational.

Do not play into the emotions of the situation. Make plans for all the scenarios that fly around in your head. Be practical and tactical in your job hunting; don’t hope to get lucky or wish someone would give you a chance. Be the keystone to opportunity by connecting yourself to the people and places that will work for you. Talk out situations and ideas with people around you; understanding your support network and being able to feel its presence is always a boost to anyone’s confidence. 

2. Work Hard.

I am under the belief that hard work does pay off. Set goals that you would like to achieve and figure out what needs to be done to achieve them. Get these ideas on paper. It is much easier to focus on the tasks you have at hand if you do not have these plans and concerns playing in the background of your brain. If you dedicate yourself and believe in your true ability, things will work for you. Don’t hesitate to jump on opportunities.

Note: Because you are working hard, make time to take breaks and relax. Understand that your hard work has earned you time to step away from the job search. This will leave you refreshed and open your mind to different perspectives. It may also remind you of things that got buried under the job search, like laughing and family.

So I say to you, congratulations on understanding the opportunity that rests before you. Challenges are what make us stronger as they give us experience and perspective. Learn from your journey. Carpe diem. And be resilient. Because those attributes will do more than set you up for your first job; they will set you up for life.

I have been an intern in the nonprofit world for over a year now and have seen the impact that intern positions can create. Interns are active and curious contributors that desire to excel and to make a good impression. Sometimes their eagerness can be a little disconcerting but here are a few suggestions that can make the process a little easier:

Start off with something that will force them use the resources available to them.  

When I started my first internship, I was tasked to create an “About Us” document for the organization. Because I knew very little about the organization, I thought the assignment was a bit brazen. In hindsight, I realize how useful such a lofty first assignment was. This task forced me to gather information about the organization and deliberate what were key messages and missions of the organization. I learned from the information I gathered as well as became familiar with the informational resources that I had at my fingertips.

The more you invest in an intern, the better your return on investment is. 

Most interns do not have much real world experience. So if you can provide them with opportunities to work and develop real world skills, they will be thankful and you will be able to get more out of them. In my personal experience I have had the tremendous fortune to work on website development and content management for various organizations. These are real world tools that are not covered in classroom material. These skills definitely set me apart from other students entering the job market and made me a useful contributor to many projects. This kind of experience has given me confidence and experience in an area that can actually make an immediate impact in any organization. This knowledge has helped me contribute to multifaceted, ongoing, projects which has enabled my employers to maximize their work potential as well as get the most out of me.
  

Provide both long and short term tasks to avoid a stagnant intern.

It seems that in every one of my internship experiences tasks have been assigned on an ongoing basis. Ongoing tasks have been very beneficial; they allow the intern to work independently and to avoid asking “what’s next?”  Interns should not need to be held by the hand 24-7, and furthermore, most interns are independent enough to figure out what tasks need to be accomplished. Of course interns can and should contribute to administrative tasks, but giving long term projects to interns allows them to create work products that can have a lasting beneficial impact for you.

So now the important advice: HOW DO I GET INTERNS?

Fortunately there are many available interns nearby; the University of Texas is a wonderful resource for prospective interns and employees.  However there are other universities in the area as well. Most of these schools have job listings where you can submit work opportunities like U.T.’s Hire a Longhorn. However to best way to the interns is through your existing professional network. You will find that through your connections there is usually an intern waiting. Most times a colleague will recommend one of their  own former interns or perhaps knows of a student looking for a position.  If not, do not hesitate to reach out to professors at nearby universities. By searching departments at UT you can usually find a contact email for a professor who teaches a subject related or relevant to your organization. They usually have several students they could recommend and at times would not even mind announcing opportunities to their classes.  

Interns can help in a variety of ways. Do not hesitate to be creative with the role interns can play in your organization. You may be pleasantly surprised at what they can offer to your organization.

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