Category Archives: Career

Corporate Lessons

Today’s post is about life in the corporate environment.

My previous company is an international company with more than 100,000 employees worldwide and operations in roughly 180 countries. I was one of many floating in the corporate bowl. Working there was not an easy experience. The company prides themselves in sink or swim training. Basically, you learn to survive on your own or you will soon be out. There were many moments of misery, frustration, joy, and excitement. I built a strong network and left many good friends when I decided to leave. When I announced my resignation, a couple of leaders approached me and expressed their surprise. Apparently, I was viewed as a rising star. Hah good to know!

What I learned from my first corporate job:

          Make friends, not enemies – The company was very political. 50% of the time I felt like I was managing political tension. I know I made a couple of enemies just because I didn’t know how to react. But I learned. Don’t lash out. Always be calm, and step away when you can if situations are getting out of hand. Hard work is important. But it’s also important to make friends. It’s important to be political. At least get people to know your name and like you.

          Help people and express gratitude – I received many a helping hand along the way during my corporate tenure.  I’ve learned to express gratitude and in turn help more people. When I resigned, I approached someone who I knew had been trying to into our department. She was smart, capable, and had the right experience. Plus, she would be a great fit in the great team. I’m happy to hear she will be joining the team in 2017.

          Learn to take constructive criticism – If it’s not constructive, view it as constructive. It’s hard to be criticized. Believe me.

          Don’t be afraid to reach out, ask for help – Don’t be shy. When you don’t know the answer, ask until you find the person that will direct you. If you don’t ask, you will just sit there not knowing, and be unable to come up with an answer.

          Work hard. I get in early and leave late.

 On to my next gig. I am working for an international company with again more than 100K+ employees and operations all over. I’m applying the principles above. I can definitely say the experience at my previous company is helping me tremendously. I’m glad I worked and learned for my previous company. It toughened me up. 

The past six months have been challenging. Learning something new every day. But I can say, I’m closing out the year with good results. 

New Job

I mentioned before my life has been quite hectic due to a relocation and new job over the summer. I was not actively looking for a new position, but I was open to starting a new role in the next year. When I say active, I mean spending time applying to open positions on the web. Several companies had contacted me through LinkedIn about varying types of roles throughout the country. For the past year, I had been honing my interview skills by replying and going through the companies’ hiring process. At the time I had acquired 4 years in the technology industry. I interviewed with many tech companies, as well as oil, retail, and CPG. I knew relocation was possible, but it was also possible I could land a new role in Dallas, TX. Staying in TX would be ideal because my husband would not need to find a new job.

At the same time, I was also pursuing roles within my company. I made it to the final round for two jobs (I know this either through discussions with the recruiter or people close to the hiring manager). One was in sales and the other was a similar role to what I was in but in another business unit. I was also in discussion with another manager to try to get on his team (again similar role but different discipline). Ultimately the leads fell through but I learned so much from it. It’s tough facing rejection, but it gets easier the more you face it. Plus, every interview round taught me many things about myself. I just kept trying on both fronts. 

I just knew it was time for a change. I communicated this to my manager and he was actually giving me more. I truly miss working for him. The new work was actually exciting, but it was hard because I couldn’t let go of my then current responsibilities. In essence, in order to pick up new and exciting work, I had to expand my workload.   

So guess, my desires where answered and out of nowhere I landed a role with a company that wasn’t even on my radar. We picked up and moved.

I’m not going to lie. It’s scary. Even though I was getting tired of my previous job, I was comfortable and confident. I knew who to go to, I knew what to do. I could say no because I was an owner, and people trusted my opinion and decisions. It took four long years to build relationships and knowledge. And I know to some four years is nothing, compared to ten years, etc., but the point is it took time.

Now, I’m starting from scratch. I miss my friends, I miss my home, I miss my favorite places to eat. I’m scared I will fail at this new role. I’m considered a newbie (once again), and even though I have more experience in the function than some people I’m working with, I don’t have experience with the company. And I know it’s extremely important to get the internal company knowledge. 

But in order to grow, you have to jump into uncomfortable situations and embrace change. This is what I’m doing. 

3 Years in Corporate America

In June, I had my 3 year work anniversary. I can’t believe I lasted 3 years at my company. I have had many challenges, tribulations, and frustrations. But here I am, somehow surviving. I was looking through my posts about my career, and realize a lot and not a lot has changed.

We finally set it out on our own. We have our own house, we support ourselves, and don’t depend on anyone. It’s amazing! I would never go back. Even though work is not the ideal life, it beats not being independent.

In the past 3 years, I’ve learned corporate america is not for me long term. I’m already planning our financial independence from the man. I don’t know if I’ll join a small organization. Frankly, because I want us to be financially independent, I have to suck up and be where the money which right now is corporate america.

I’ve also learned politics suck. I’m being more political but I am a sucky brown noser. I can’t help it, I wear my emotions on my sleeve, and when I think someone is stupid, it’s hard to hide it.

Corporate america sucks the life out of me. I am at work from 730 to almost 530. Sometimes I leave at 5. Depends on the day. I hit the gym at work, then head home. So I end up arriving between 630-7 PM depending on traffic and when I left my desk. That is 12 hours away from home. Ouch…So much time dedicated to getting to, being at, and leaving work.

I do miss living so close to work, now I’m 30 minutes away. I don’t miss living in an apartment.

I’m living in the grind. Every week, I countdown to the weekend. I look at my calendar to check when our next paycheck is in the month. My life is starting to resemble Office Space.

Beware students getting into tons of debt. It’s not worth it. You salary won’t match it. Go to a school that has the best return of investment. Many kids don’t look at college this way, but it is the smartest way. Thankfully, I have no school debt, neither does hubby. Just don’t do it. You have been warned.

 

Why Completing Your FNP Degree Online Can Be a Smart Financial Move

**The following is a sponsored post.

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Going to school to become and being a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) is a great way to involve yourself in the medical community and provide meaningful service. However, between classroom time and clinical hours, it can be difficult to balance work and your schooling. In addition, getting a degree can be costly. Check out some ways that completing your FNP degree online can be a good decision financially.

No Moving Costs

One of the benefits of online schooling is that you can stay exactly where you are. Whether you already have a job in your location, or it’s out of your budget to make a move for school, there are lots of different reasons why staying put is the preferable financial move. Finish your FNP degree from the comfort of your own home without having to sacrifice stability or your work. This is especially important if you have kids or dependents at home; keep their lives stable by taking classes at home.

Many programs also offer distance learning where only a few weeks a semester on campus are required. This gives you the opportunity to travel without having to commit to the school’s location, and it also gives you the opportunity to meet your instructors in person.

Flexible Hours

Working? Young kids or aging parents at home? An online FNP program lets you choose during what hours you do your school work, letting your life carry on like normal without jeopardizing all your time. Especially when it comes time to do clinicals, sitting in a classroom for long hours doesn’t work well for many lifestyles and home situations. Improve your future while keeping up your responsibilities with an online program. Many schools offer either full-time or part-time programs. Depending on your schedule, you can work at your own pace and still complete the program in a timely manner.

Financial Aid Availability

Nursing programs can be expensive. Most schools offer some kind of financial aid. With the average cost per course hour reaching up to $400, even more for out-of-state tuition, make sure to check out your chosen school’s available fellowships and scholarships. These can help balance out the cost, especially when coupled with a student loan.  If you don’t want to take out a loan or want to reduce the amount that you borrow, working while taking classes is often the best option. Working and participating in a traditional program can be difficult, but with the flexibility of an online program, working to support your education is a lot easier.

No Crowded Classrooms

One of the best parts about online education is the individual attention coupled with the independent study portions. If you enjoy working at your own pace and taking control of your education, an online program is an excellent fit. While it may not work well for those who have a hard time staying motivated or who like face-to-face communication, if you enjoy challenging yourself and are committed to your education, an online FNP program may provide the structure that you need to excel.

Online school helps you balance your personal and educational life while staying within your budget and minimizing student debt. Also, it’s a great option if you want to keep working while you’re in school and if you work well in an independent learning environment.

How Toastmasters Has Helped Me Gain Confidence

When I joined Corporate America two years ago, I was the youngest team member by a few years. Starting from scratch in a new environment when everybody is looking at you because you are so young is crazy. I’ve learned a lot about Corporate America, which I’ve shared before in other posts. In one of my posts, I spoke about getting involved in groups or activities at work. I joined my company’s Toastmasters group to improve my public speaking skills. In the past year, I have seen significant improvement in how I communicate in front of audiences. Toastmasters has also helped me communicate better during one-one conversations.

I have noticed the following improvements in my speech:

  • A decrease in nerves
  • Using less crutch words (i.e. like, uh, uhm,)
  • Appropriately using pauses instead of crutch words
  • Maintaining eye contact with the audience

I have, also, met so many people from different parts of my company. It’s a really great to network passively. We are all there to build our skills, so we’re concentrating on our individual skills not talking to anybody else, thus, it’s easier to talk to people. Double win!!!

Improving my public speaking skills is going to help me in my career and life. Right now my career is my main money making scheme, so it’s extremely important to keep up any and all skills.

I still have a whole lot of work to do! Have you seen seasoned Toastmasters speak? They are AMAZING! One day I will be like them.

Until then, I have to keep practicing. This is me leaning in to my career.

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How to Succeed in Corporate America

This past June, I completed my second year in Corporate America. It has been thrilling roller coaster ride! I have learned a lot about myself and I have even picked up a couple things on how to succeed in this type of environment.

First, I don’t know if Corporate America will be the rest of my life. Sigh sometimes I kick myself in the foot for not considering other opportunities. Looking back I had a couple of chances to go a different direction, but I didn’t believe in myself or thought I wasn’t cut out for that kind of work. I’m trying to be more confident and asking about any and every opportunity. For example, I have asked about a job opportunity when came up in my department. I even asked about a global opportunity. I figure the more I ask, the more comfortable I get asking, even I face rejection, which I often do. Which leads me to the first lesson learned that will help you succeed in Corporate America

  1. Don’t be shy, talk to everyone, and ask about everything. One of the biggest challenges I had at the beginning of my job assignment as my serious lack of confidence. Don’t know why, but I was so intimated about approaching people. It took me a few months to get over this fear. My boss even pointed it out in my review. He thought it was strange because our previous interactions had not been like this. So, I got over my fear, and as I have become more comfortable in my area, my confidence as grown. I smile at everyone! Talk to everyone! And ask questions! Remember ask questions. Get to know people. Most of the time people are super nice and are willing to help. I know I am more than willing to help, sort of like returning the favor. When you hear about an opportunity to gain deeper breath, ask. This is harder than it seems, but now my boss sort of knows I will ask about any opportunity I hear about, no offense to him. I am at a point in my career where I need to grow, after all.
  2. Become a Subject Matter Expert in Your Area. Most likely you will come into your first job in Corporate America with absolutely no knowledge in your area. Holy crap, I still don’t know what I’m doing it, but the first couple of months were the craziest. I was getting asked to do things and about things that I had no clue how to answer. Even though I’m in sourcing, since I work for a tech company, my job includes a lot of tech lingo. So, I find myself reading a lot of technical material. I listen to the engineers. I listen to the suppliers. I listen to everybody. Some people have noted I am very well versed, and are surprised to find out I have only been in my position for 2 years. This makes me gush with happiness to know all my hard work is paying off.  You can become a subject matter expert by doing your research. It will pay off.
  3. Create an internal network. I have to admit I am not the most social person ever. And I’m part of a very hard working team that may or may not believe that socializing is acceptable as part of your work duties. But you can’t advance without creating a strong network. I have worked really hard to create a network within my company. I have joined Toastmasters, I am volunteering at special events, and I am trying to eat lunch away from my desk. Has it paid off? I’m not sure. BUT. One of the directors called me up on Friday to see if I was interested in another volunteer opportunity. She said she thought of me and thought I would be a perfect person for the opportunity. Hey! I’ll take it. I’m on people’s minds!

My primary responsibility is to rock at my job since it’s my primary and biggest source of income. It’s challenging starting out because there’s no secret recipe. Everyone has different circumstances and experiences. Do you have any additional ideas to succeed? Please share!

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6 Reasons You Should Become a Nurse Practitioner

This is a contributed post.

After working a few years as a registered nurse, many will begin to wonder if they should pursue further education to become a nurse practitioner. In this role, they can complete many of the same duties as a physician. While becoming a nurse practitioner requires extra time and money by getting a higher degree, there are many benefits to choosing this advanced career.

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More Job Opportunities

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), between 2012 and 2022 this field is expected to grow 31 percent — faster than average for most industries. There are several factors that play a role in this rising demand for nurse practitioners. First, recent health care legislation means that many new people have health insurance, and there will be an increased number of people seeking the preventive care that nurse practitioners can offer. Additionally, an aging population means that more people will need care for ailments and conditions that can strike the elderly.

Better Pay

While the BLS reports that 2012 annual pay for registered nurses was a decent $65,470, the salary for nurse practitioners is a substantial $96,460 a year. On top of that, the top 10 percent of earners take home more than $161,030. Higher pay isn’t the only benefit that nurse practitioners enjoy. They commonly work for employers that offer childcare, education credits, and flexible work schedules.

Greater Responsibilities

Nurse practitioners enjoy greater responsibilities than registered nurses. Not only are they able to prescribe medication, they can order lab work and x-rays to help diagnose illnesses and treat patients. As a result, 16 states and Washington, D.C. allow nurse practitioners to work independently of a doctor. In fact, many nurse practitioners even choose to open their own clinics. Out of the estimated 150,000 nurse practitioners in the country, about 1,000 of them work in nurse-managed clinics. All together, there are about 250 health clinics around the country run solely by nurse practitioners.

More Flexibility

Nurse practitioners are able to work in a variety of medical settings including private practices, urgent care clinics, hospitals, and schools. One area where nurse practitioners are in high demand is in rural communities. With nearly 90 percent of physicians working in urban areas, there are large sections of the country that are left underserved by medical professionals. As a result, many programs exist to help nurse practitioners pay for their education costs in exchange for working in these rural communities. The National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program is an example of one available to nurses. Through this program, nurses are able to receive up to $60,000 in loan repayment money in exchange for two years of work.

Ability to Offer Better Care

While doctors aren’t always known for their good bedside manner, nurses tend to excel at it. In fact, data has shown that patients are very happy with the service they receive from nurse practitioners. There are even some areas, such as birthing and controlling blood glucose levels, where nurse practitioners have better patient satisfaction than doctors. Additionally, nurse practitioners not only work with patients, they also help their families by answering questions and going over the different treatment options that are available.

More Specialization Opportunities

Nurse practitioners are able to focus on one area of specialization as they continue to further their career. One lucrative option is to specialize in geriatric care. This niche is in high demand as the population continues to age. In this field, nurses are responsible for providing care and treatment to the elderly. They are often able to work in a variety of settings including hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and for home health care provider companies. The average salary for a nurse practitioner specializing in geriatric care is around $75,000 a year.

The decision on whether to seek further education and become a nurse practitioner isn’t one that’s taken lightly. However, should you choose to do so, you know you’ll have the opportunity to better serve your community while also enjoying the excellent benefits that come along with this exciting career.

The Confidence Gap

Are you confident?

Let me ask it again.

Are you as confident as your male counterpart next to you?

Confidence is something I constantly struggle with in my career. If I am overconfident, I may be viewed as too pushy or aggressive. If I I am not confident enough, I may not get the results. In my first review at my job one year ago, my boss noted I needed to be more confident. At a recent lunch with a mentor, he told me “you need to be more confident. You are good. Don’t be afraid.”

“Evidence shows that women are less self-assured than men—and that to succeed, confidence matters as much as competence. Here’s why, and what to do about it.” – The Confidence Gap, The Atlantic

I don’t like to brag about myself. I believe if you work hard, you will get noticed and rewarded.

Kathy Kay and Claire Shipman are the authors of The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance- What Women Should Know. Both agree you need to work hard and be confident about your work and abilities.

I’ve learned talking about your accomplishments is a tight line to walk. I myself have not even come close to mastering it. I did extremely well in school because there were rules. You were graded upon metrics chosen at the beginning of the term.

“If life were one long grade school, women would be the undisputed rulers of the world.”

I’ve noticed when I or my only other female counterpart on my team speak up at meetings, we get viewed negatively. When the men speak up, suddenly, their ideas are great.

“If a woman speaks up first at meetings, she risks being disliked or even—let’s be blunt—being labeled a bitch.”

What happens when I don’t feel confident?

The natural result of low confidence is inaction. When women hesitate because we aren’t sure, we hold ourselves back.

The last thing I want to do is do nothing!

In studies, men overestimate their abilities and performance, and women underestimate both. Their performances do not differ in quality.

The article focuses on the why women are not as confident and some of the results.

I know I have to fight my upbringing every day. I was raised to listen, to follow directions, and to sit quietly like a lady.

I do not agree. I do not agree men are better than me. I believe we are equals. Actually, if history has any indication, I have outcompeted my male counterparts. I have better focus and more motivation.  Yet today, I have to fight everyday the urge to bury myself under blankets.

This is an issue for every single on of us, even if you are a guy. Why? Because you may have a daughter, or a sister, or a girlfriend, and you definitely have a mother. We should encourage all women to speak for themselves. To be confident about their strengths and weaknesses. It’s the only way to succeed.

Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 8.44.37 PMSource: http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/04/the-confidence-gap/359815/

Best Jobs of 2014

I came across this article on the Wall Street Journal detailing the best jobs of 2014.

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Here are the rankings:

Best Jobs of 2014:

  1. Mathematician/ $101,630
  2. Tenured University Professor/ $68,970
  3. Statistician/ $75,560
  4. Actuary / $93,680
  5. Audiologist / $69,720
  6. Dental Hygienist / $70,210
  7. Software Engineer / $93,350
  8. Computer Systems Analyst / $75,400
  9. Occupational Therapist / $75,400
  10. Speech Pathologist / $69,870

Worst Jobs of 2014/ Midlevel Income

200. Lumberjack/ $24,340
199. Newspaper Reporter / $37,090
198. Enlisted Military Personnel / $28,840
197. Taxi Driver / $22,820
196. Broadcaster / $55,380
195. Head Cook / $42,480
194. Flight Attendant $37,240
193. Garbage Collector / $22,970
192. Firefighter / $45,250
191. Corrections Officer / $38,970

My job didn’t actually make the list. Software engineer has been at the top of the list for many years now. I’m not sure why I didn’t go through with a software engineering degree. I studied computer science in high school. 3 bloody years of Java! By the time I finished my 3rd year I was burned out, so I quit. I wish I could tell old self to keep on going with the program, because it will pay off. I’m not exactly bad off now, but software engineers are in such hot demand! Lesson learned if you think something is hard, don’t quit, especially if there is demand for employment!

Thoughts? Does your career fall in the top ten list? What do you think?

 

Source: Wall Street Journal

What is Your Next Career Move?

You own your career. Nobody else owns it. Not your manager, not your husband, not your coworker, not your parent. You own your path to success.

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Career is one of the top topics I write about on this blog. I want financial independence but I need cash to get there. My career is how I generate income and fund my expenses. My husband contributes to this pot and we build our net worth growth together.

When I joined my company, I was so excited. I was just starting out and I really did not know what I wanted to do in the next couple of years. I mentally gave myself a deadline of two years. No, it was not in writing, but in my head, I set up a timeline on how long it was going to take me to judge the company, industry, profession, etc.

I have been progressing and maturing in my current role, but I know as soon as I get the promotion I’m working towards, there will be no further growth left. So why am I even working towards a promotion on my team? I think it will give me credibility that I have shown results and seen a benefit.

I finally called up a trusted outside mentor and asked him for guidance on my next move. This move will not come tomorrow. But I want to be ready for when I make the move in 1 to 1.5 years from now. We’re going to meet in a couple of weeks and talk about what I want and how I get there.

I’m hopeful. I understand there will be no further growth within my company, so it’s hard for me to remain motivated and positive. I don’t want to do everything for my company. At this point it’s a paycheck and a means to an end. A promotion will be sweet, but I don’t feel the passion I typically feel.

How do you determine your next career move?

–          Evaluate your progress in your current role? Is their growth opportunity?

–          Where do you see yourself in 2, 3, 4 years? Do you see yourself in your current role?

–          Identify the role you want to move into. Where do you think you can grow the most and utilize your talent?

–          Establish steps to get to get there. Network with people in the roles you want. Start reviewing your resume and figure out how to make it stand out.

–          What else do you need on your resume to make it stand out to the hiring manager?

–          Train yourself for the questions you will be asked.

–          Network to meet people in the role, industry, or company you want to land at.

Remember, talent is not enough. You have to work hard, be talented, and network to get to the next step.

Do you have advice for someone who wants to grow their career? Please give your input in the comments section.

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