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Pages tagged "Career Planning"


The path less taken

Path in the WildernessWhen I heard we were going to do a session on non-linear career paths as part of the EPIP-YNPN Leadership Institute, I was super excited. I’m a pro at this; I’ve spent the last six-ish years having absolutely no idea where my career was going.

I graduated in 2009 with a double major in International Relations and Arabic and a concentration in Middle Eastern studies, so I had one very clear career option: becoming a spy. (Or, you know, going into international business, working as a translator, becoming a diplomat, etc.)

Unfortunately for me, none of those careers panned out, and it was the height of the recession. There were no jobs for recent college grads, so my career focus had to shift from dreams of shaken martinis to attempts at gaining job experience and building my resume.

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Quality, Not Quantity

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I’ve gotten used to sounding apologetic when I explain to people what I do for a living. After all, I have a Master’s degree in Public Policy from one of the best policy schools in the nation. How could I possibly just be an assistant? I get defensive and feel like I have to justify my decision to take a job that would not impress any of my peers. Since starting, I had feared this job wouldn't allow me to learn any tangible skills, and I would leave it having accomplished nothing.

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The Maybe Best, Maybe Worst Time I Quit My Job

I’ve quit a few jobs post-college. The first time was terrifying—I returned to the Twin Cities with no job lined up, just with the money I’d saved working as a motel clerk in my tiny hometown. The next one was embarrassing—I quit a part-time job one week in because a full-time offer came my way. After that, an uplifting experience—after over a year of rejections, I finally got a “you’re hired,” and it was from an organization I was wildly passionate about.

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Looking When You’re Not Looking

I’m learning something in life, over and over again. I’m learning that a lot of the best things happen when you’re not looking for them. Maybe you’ve heard this from people before, sometimes in the context of romantic relationships. It’s a classic; they were seeking hard, and missing, and failing, and trying harder, and missing bigger, and the whole time the best thing was right under their nose. Common denominator in these situations? Stop looking.

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Could You Be a Superhero in Disguise?

The following blog is by Maria Ward.

main.jpgLike many of you, I came to work in the non-profit sector because of my passion for social justice. Fresh from college and student-led advocacy groups, my head was filled with facts about inequality and injustice and my laptop plastered with bumper stickers.

When it came time to find a job aligned with my beliefs, however, I was at a loss. You can’t make a career out of just believing really, really hard in a cause, unfortunately. You have to gain some tangible skills to support the cause, skills which sometimes don’t feel all that connected to that passion that led you to nonprofits in the first place.

I tested out the nonprofit career paths that felt most connected to the passion I felt, dipping my toes in community organizing and direct service, areas where I could talk about the issues as a public figure. Much as I wanted to be the hero on the front lines, I found these jobs to be a mismatch to my personality. What kind of career could I build when I wasn’t a natural with a bullhorn or an extrovert with the energy to interact with people all day?

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Moving On

Loading a Moving Van“HelloGoodbyeHelloGoodbye… I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello.”
-The Beatles, Hello, Goodbye

These lyrics come from what feels like my theme song of late: Hello, Goodbye by The Beatles. Since graduating college in 2007, my now husband and I have moved four times, never staying anywhere longer than three years. Perhaps we’re not so different from you or many others in our generation, who chase job opportunities wherever they lead.

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Can we stop talking about passion for a minute?

It seems to be pretty standard for career books and blogs (even this one) to tell you that the secret to career success is to channel your passion and do the thing you love.

That’s crap. Well-intentioned, but in my opinion, crap.

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Becoming Boss

by Leah Lundquist
follow me on Twitter: @leahlundquist

No millennial I know particularly wants to end up like Michael Scott, beloved by his employees in a pitiful way. No, we all want to be Tony Hsieh of Zappos, crushing organizational hierarchy in the name of productivity and passion. Or Liz Lemon, somehow getting a show on the air even while managing crazy, egocentric actors and immature, oftentimes lazy writers. But making the leap from the very lowest of the food chain to having people to supervise isn’t easy. We talk a lot about “managing up” as Millennials - what about when we start managing “down”? 

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Logic Models, KPIs, Goals, Oh My!

Time to Set Some GoalsWe’re approaching the third month of the year, about the time when most New Year’s resolutions start to look a lot less shiny and promising. We’ve all been there, where we set these amazing, lofty goals to accomplish in the next year. 

Starting in the early 2000s, I started setting my number of goals or resolutions based off the year. For example, I would set 14 goals for 2014. But last year, I stopped using this method, because it simply wasn’t working. I would set these lofty goals without any true ways of measuring progress.

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Better at the in-between

by Lauren Van Schepen
follow me on Twitter: @laur_saurus

I’m hoping this doesn’t get me in trouble. I’m hoping it doesn’t make me seem lazy or complacent. I’m hoping I won’t be ousted from the board of an organization whose core mission is professional development. But I’m going to risk all that and say: I think I need to be better at the in between.

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