Category: Life


Like many people out there, I got a job right out of college, but felt in some ways I had settled and was capable of achieving much more in life. After almost two years, I was unfulfilled in a job that didn’t push the boundaries. It was time to make my mark in the world. Prior to leaving my job, I set up a system to organize my job search efforts, gain exposure through social networks and implemented a system to collect information vital to my search.

Evernote

One of the most useful note taking apps out there. I am obsessed with Evernote and use it for everything from recipes to drafting blog posts. When it comes to your job search, Evernote allows you to keep track of your search efforts by capturing, categorizing and will be a useful reference to prepare for your next interview.

Capture companies you want to work for, jobs you want to apply to and those you haven’t. Add tags to each note to categorize for future reference. After you have a collection of notes, take a look back on your progress.

Track what types of jobs you apply to and what industries you are interested in. Looking back will give you insight as to where you came from and how your preferences have changed.

Prepare for interivews. Type up targeted Q & A’s prior to each interivew and brainstorm for at least an hour in preparation. Collecting your thoughts, drafting hypothetical scenarios and answering the tough questions will give you the leading edge in a competative job market.

For more on how to use Evernote, check out tutorials on Cameronplommer.com .

Instapaper

For your job search, use Instapaper to capture relavent articles and blog posts for tips, hints and inspiration. There is a lot of useful info out there for career development and coaching. Find it. Use it. Just by doing your research you will be already ahead in the game.

Instapaper can be used anywhere, even without a nearby WiFi connection. As long as the article was previously downloaded in the app, you will have full access to it at any time. Perfect for airplane mode, traveling abroad or in remote areas.

LinkedIn

Stay connected with college professors, colleagues and build your online resume. Today almost everyone who is looking for a job or has one is on LinkedIn. I included it in my list as a reminder to stay active on LinkedIn and try to spend equal if not more time on this network than on Facebook and Twitter. Join groups on LinkedIn, participate in discussions, make connections and engage with others in the same industry.

Brazen Careerist

Join the conversation. Become part of a network of career bloggers, companies and amazing career resources. As part of the network, you can attend webinars, virtual career fairs, get career advice and take training courses to learn a new skill or ramp up old ones.

Incorporate these apps and networks into your job search efforts and you will be one step closer to finding the next rewarding opportunity in your career.

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The Beginning

Pressure. That’s all I felt in the months approaching and following my graduation date from college in 2009. Pressure from others, but mostly from myself. Who would I become? How would I start my professional career? Who was I ? Those are the questions I asked myself everyday at the end of 2009 and after the new year.

Asking these questions was my first mistake. Too wrapped up in the questions I was suppose to ask myself, the right way to start a career (according to conventional wisdom) I fell back on what I thought I SHOULD do.

Sometimes plans don’t work. Even backup plans fall through. You determine your destiny. Not chance or luck. I found myself following the rules I had set for myself.

Allergic to risk. Failing to fail. Aiming for perfection.

You’re Hired

The day I got a job offer I was overwhelmed with feelings of relief, ambition, success and a hint of fear. My professional career had officially begun.

Background checks, screening, new hire orientation and classroom training entered into my life. I spent three weeks in Baltimore for training. The first months of work were filled with textbooks, learning entire computer systems and dreaming of finally having a cubicle to call home. Not exactly the life I envisioned or the career I had set in mind before graduation.

I learned the ropes, passed tests, graduated from training, released from my mentor and and was on my own. I became a worker bee. It was all about the numbers. I followed the rules, exceeded performance and quality standards. Error free. Risk adverse.

Months went by and then another year had passed. Is this what I went to school for? Am I happy? What am I achieving? I woke up one day realizing I had settled. My worst fear had come true and it was only my fault. Paychecks became more important than my dreams and ambition to challenge the status quo. My passion had disappeared. What had happened to me? I was not being true to my character.

I felt like I had joined the military in some ways. I became absorbed with exceeding the numbers, saving my paycheck and waking up at 5 a.m. for another 12 hour day.

Making Moves

After spending two weeks in Europe for a much needed vacation I had planned my whole life, I realized it was time. I was just living through the motions. Making my bosses happy, processing claims and collecting a HUGE paycheck.

My 25th birthday was quickly approaching. How did I get to 25 so fast?

Two weeks before my birthday I woke up. I asked my bosses for new roles, challenges and projects to move forward in my career. I had proven myself time and time again, but there were no opportunities to grow. Leaving my federal job was the hardest decision I had ever made. I walked away from my large salary, life-long friends and my federal career, but I was ready to move forward. I knew moving forward would be hard, stressful and nerve-racking at times. I was pulling myself out of my comfort zone and diving head first into the unknown. Moving towards my new career and redefining my future without rules or deadlines. You never know what you are capable of until you push yourself to the limits.

Where Am I Now?

My passion is alive. Enjoying the moment. Being a better daughter, sister and girlfriend. Challenging myself and the status quo.

I refuse to settle in life. Challenge is what I live for. Be bold. Make moves.

If you don’t like something about yourself, your life or who you are spending your life with, change it. No more excuses.

Who am I? I am a person who works hard and plays hard while making history. I do the first two everyday and will spend the rest of my life striving for the third.

Life Lessons

Perfection does not equal success. If you are perfect, you will never learn from your failures. Failure is the first sign of success. Never compare yourself to others. Do what is right for you, not others. Be allergic to bull, even if it’s coming from your own thoughts. Don’t settle for average.  Remember the past, but move towards the future.

I define myself by what I do. I am a blogger, entrepreneur, paddle-boarder, adventurista, foodie, photographer and thousands of things. But the one thing I REFUSE to be is average. Be your OWN definition of exceptional.

This piece of travel clothing and company {r}evolution apparel has become my new obsession and inspiration since I discovered them last December. These two incredible women (who I adore and admire) have created a multi-functional piece and fashion company that represents sustainability, environmentalism, human equality and chic style all wrapped into one. Wow. Sounds amazing right? Pre-order yours or visit their new online store mid-April. Here’s their debut piece, but there will be a maxi dress to accompany and looking forward to an entire 10 piece collection in the future promising 100 ways to wear. Keep up the amazing work girls!

“OUR LIVES ARE DEFINED NOT BY WHAT WE OWN,
BUT BY WHO WE LOVE, WHAT WE DO,
AND HOW WE IMPACT THE WORLD” – {r}evolution apparel

“We’re just two people who want to live with purpose, passion, and adventure. And make the world a little bit better along the way.” – KRISTIN & SHANNON

DIY Easter Brunch Terrarium

Love this idea for a table arrangement for Easter brunch! via DIY terrarium.

Start with about 3/4 inch sand.

Add just enough water to make the sand moist.

Pat down the sand level.

Add a layer of rocks. (We used shiny rocks collected at the beach)

Then a layer of dirt.

Plant small cute little plants. Succulents are my choice.

Yay!

Cheers!

-madey edlin

"Everlasting Light"

Many people (including myself) cannot afford to purchase an orignal piece of art, but deeply enjoy the beauty of orignal artwork. Do you want an orignal piece of art at your home or business, but don’t have the cash to make the purchase? Solution: Get a library card from the Art Lending Library and checkout a piece and enjoy for months!

Step 1: Join

The Art Lending Library provides a network of lending and borrowing original artwork to the general public for FREE. Sign up at an opening and get a library card at 201 Yesler Wy. Suite B Seattle, WA.

Step 2: Check out

Attend a library opening and reserve a piece for delivery by the librarians to members’ homes or business.

Step 3: Install

Art Lending librarians will come to your home or business and install the art for you.

Step 4: Enjoy

 Gaze and admire your borrowed piece of art for 4 months.

Step 5: Return

Once time is up, the librarians will come collect the artwork, take a picture of you and the piece and return back to the gallery. Choose a new piece of artwork at the next opening or reserve your favorite piece time and time again.

So what are you waiting for? Get a library card!

Next Event: March 1st, First Thursday art walk for their Grand Opening (this won’t be a check-out event)

Questions? Email artlendinglibrary@gmail.com and visit their website and Facebook page.

Below are a few pieces previously featured at the Art Lending Library

"a wandering into morning, wading into evening and sifting into sleep" from: "The Mailbox in the Woods"

"Bodi seti satva" from, Atoms. Motion & the Void

Top 5 Reasons to Yelp

Over the years I have become an avid user of Yelp. Why you ask? Because Yelp gives me a snapshot of the restaurants, events or services through the eyes of consumers.  If I’m in a new city, country or even my hometown Ballard, Yelp is my go to resource for finding the best of the best and almost guarantees a memorable experience.

After having a horrifying experience last weekend at a hotel in Hilo, Hawai’i that my aunt had booked (she should have used Yelp), I introduced her to the site. She now says she will always Yelp prior to making any hotel reservations in the future. Sorry Naniloa Resort, you have been yelped and it doesn’t look good.

Top 5 Reasons to Yelp

  1. Transparency- Allows recent customers to share their experience, good or bad with others and hold merchants accountable for their service and products. The availability of information allows consumers to make informed decisions and seek out highly rated merchants. Transparency creates an incentive for below average merchants to improve their products and services (which is my next reason).
  2. Better Products/Services- Increased transparency leads to higher quality products and services. Companies don’t want to establish a bad reputation that the entire world can see.
  3. Meet new people- Yelping is social. Read other reviews, become a fan of fellow yelpers and get to know people who share the same tastes.  Get out of your house and into the world! You are bound to meet interesting and passionate people.
  4. Tell your story- Writing reviews on Yelp and becoming an elite member allows users to create almost a diary or timeline of the restaurants, hotels and cities they have traveled too. Give it a try, sign up on Yelp and watch your reviews grow. Take a look back on your review history and let the memories roll.
  5. Explore new neighborhoods, cities and let your adventurista side out- Yelp allows users to explore new places. From speakeasy bars to the best Tom Yum a city can offer, the site lets people expand their horizons, create new experiences and lasting memories.

So what are you waiting for?

Get Yelping!

Good Taste

Motivation to try and try again. We all might have good taste, but the key is to create a large body of work.

The Take Away: Do Work. Eventually you will get there. Your quality of work will pass your taste test.

 

The New-Graduate Paradox

Getting your first job out of college is extremely difficult and frustrating. But, its up to you to differentiate yourself from other candidates and stand out in a crowd of hungry job seekers.

Being a recent-college graduate, I have discovered there is a new-graduate paradox.

No employer will hire you without experience, but you can’t get experience without getting hired. Well that’s just wonderful since I myself am a recent college graduate and have worked during college in retail, but have yet to get a “real” full-time job relevant to my economics degree.

During my job search, I have discovered that entry-level doesn’t mean having a college degree and little experience.

Entry level really means at least 1 to 2 years prior relevant work experience when you read the whole description. How many college graduates really have at least 1 year relevant work experience to the jobs they seek out?

Entry-level jobs no longer mean what they used to. Employers are taking advantage of the current economic downturn and adding new requirements (additional experience) to entry-level jobs. Two years ago, it seemed that there was a high demand for entry-level workers right out of college. There was a huge market for recent graduates. Employers hired many full-time employees straight out of college. Two years ago the economy was improving and unemployment was low. But then the housing bubble burst, the financial markets began to fail and for those of us graduating in 2009 into the present got screwed over.

Reasons for the New-Graduate Paradox:

  • High unemployment. The combination of layoffs, financial market crashes and foreclosures flood the job market with experienced workers that are unemployed or looking for a higher paying job. Recent graduates have little chance of getting hired when the market is full with workers who have racked up many years of experience. Basically there is less demand for young unexperienced workers in today’s job market.
  • Employers think experts get the job done. Employers don’t want to “take a chance” on new and creative minds.

Solutions:

  • Employers should take advantage of unexperienced workers. New-graduates are willing to work longer hours for less money than experienced workers. Employees that have many years of experience racked up also have bills to pay, mortgages, kids and additional responsibilities that demand higher incomes. Recent-graduates have student loans, but little variable costs. Employers should hire recent graduates because they are enthusiastic about starting their career, will bring new insights to the job and will accept less in compensation.
  • Get an internship. Even though internships typically don’t typically last longer than 6 months, it will give you some great on-the-job experience and show that you are worth the money. Be indispensable and turn your internship into a full-time paid position. If you show your ambition, hard work ethic and creative ideas during your internship, chances are they won’t let you go.
  • Volunteer. You won’t get paid, but you will get some hands on experience and add skills to your resume. Plus, your ambition and dedication to work for free shows you are a self-starter and will be a valuable employee.
  • Blog or make your own website. Show off your writing skills and get blogging. Sharing your ideas and creating a discussion is a great way to use the skills you learned in college. Don’t let all those years in school go to waste. Keep up your professional writing skills and blog in your spare time. If you are more of a technical person, make your own website to include in your portfolio. Don’t know what type of website to design? Advertise your skills on Twitter or social networking sites and start a contest to design a free website for some very lucky person and build your portfolio.
  • Have a business degree? Make a mock business plan. After graduation you can either use what you learned during all those years or lose it. My advice: use your writing, analytical and creative skills to draft a business plan for an existing business or one you create yourself. This is a great way to show your ambition and take action. Employers will love your ambition and self-motivation. Who knows? Maybe showing them who you are and what you are capable of will get you a job. It could happen, so go for it!

My Journey:

Since there’s this new-graduate paradox, I am currently on the job search looking for the right opportunity to come my way. So I’m taking my own advice. I started a blog. I volunteer as a data ninja with People for Puget Sound (environmental non-profit) and I’m applying for internships to gain hands-on experience. I’m also in brainstorming ideas for my business plan. Wish me luck!

Hope this post helped  and inspired those recent college and unemployed graduates out there.

What’s your story? How did you land your first job? Any other advice for recent college grads to gain experience? Comments and discussion are always welcome!

How Much is Enough?

For many years we have all heard about the threat of peak oil, energy security, climate change and pollution.

These global problems are just symptoms of a larger, overshadowing problem and all the symptoms can be solved with one solution.

The Overshadowing Problem:  Materialism and Conspicuous Consumption in America

We have become obsessed with lavish spending on goods and services acquired mainly for the purpose of displaying wealth and status. But material things do not bring anyone happiness in the long run. We should rediscover that happiness doesn’t come from what you own, but what you do.

The Solution: Minimalism

Not to the extreme meaning of the word, just living within your means. Create a lifestyle that brings you happiness and purpose. Maintain a life where satisfaction and success are measured by the things you do, not what you own. Between the combination of credit cards, conspicuous consumption and the accessibility of home loans, we have created the idea that happiness and success come from material things. But the truth is, it doesn’t.

Think about all the things we buy that give us instant satisfaction, but these things do not contribute to our happiness in the long run.

Former president Jimmy Carter once said during his ‘Crisis of Confidence’ speech in 1979, “Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns.”

Effects of Minimalism:

  • Energy and Resource Conservation. If we only demand and buy goods that improve our standard of living and quality of life, less energy and resources will be used in the production process. If we bought what we needed and not what we wanted, energy would be conserved. This would have a huge impact on the energy crisis, energy security and climate change. Resource conservation can directly reduce deforestation and depletion of natural resources.
  • Address Climate Change. With less energy and resources used in the production of goods, carbon emissions will decrease.
  • Switch from Manufacturing to Services. Some might suggest that with less manufacturing, jobs will be lost. I propose that jobs in manufacturing switch to the service and technology industries. Yes, people in manufacturing will loose their jobs, but training programs and placement should be provided in the switch to technology and service industries. Economists call this restructuring of the economy creative destruction. Restructuring of the economy will occur and the economy will be stronger and robust in the long run. Careers will be created to solve today’s problems and discover innovative solutions. These workers will be extremely valuable and will provide a new wave of indispensable workers in America.
  • Waste Reduction. If we consume what we need instead of what we want, fewer goods will be produced and ultimately less waste will be produced. We can significantly reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills, water bodies and the environment.

Why should you care?

Be part of the solution, not the problem. Think about your lifestyle and what makes you happy.

Is it material things or spending time with family and helping others?

What are you contributing to your neighborhood, city, nation and world?

My Advice:

  • Do what makes you happy. Volunteer, cook with your family, write a book, start a blog.
  • Consume what you need, not what you want. Buy things that improve the quality of your life, not just instant satisfaction from material things.
  • Have a purpose. Create a life that helps others, the environment and reap the benefits of happiness and satisfaction throughout your life.

Many of us know eating fresh fruits, vegetables and staying away from processed fatty foods are part of a healthy lifestyle. So why do Americans maintain unhealthy eating habits?

People make choices based on their preferences and typically select the choice that derives the highest amount of satisfaction. Economists call this satisfaction utility. If we assume all people are rational, then people will select the choice that maximizes utility. When it comes to food, its hard to give up the cheeseburger for a healthy alternative.

Let’s face it. Fatty, salty and sugar filled foods just taste better. Our taste buds have developed over many decades to crave the fat, salt and sugar in our diet. Since we enjoyed it so much and it gave us instant satisfaction, unhealthy yet tasty food became the center of our diets.

Fast food is well…fast and easy. Today Americans work longer hours and have little time to prepare and cook food. So the simple solution is to eat processed and packaged food. For many of us, time is money. We sacrifice maintaining healthy diets for quick and easy meals. Sometimes these meals come in the form of a drive-up window or a frozen pizza.

Low quality processed food is cheaper. Buying poor quality processed food costs less money than buying fresh produce. Less time is spent on food preparation and cooking.

With these reasons, its no surprise why Americans have unhealthy eating habits.

But eating processed and unhealthy foods have huge costs. There is a tradeoff between eating unhealthy foods and adverse health effects that range from diabetes to cancer.

Here are the Stats:

According to a new study, mortality from obesity eventually “may result in a decline in future life expectancy.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 18 % of teenagers are overweight.

Overweight adolescents have a 70 percent chance of becoming overweight adults.

The percentages jump significantly higher for adults.

According to the CDC, 67 % of adults are overweight or obese.

Ultimately, the food choices we make every day are leading to adverse health effects and eventually decreasing life expectancy. For the first time, parents may have higher life expectancies than their children if the obesity trend continues.

These stats signify the immediate need for a food revolution to not only eat healthy foods but to save lives.

Jamie Oliver has started the food revolution to educate and Americans about food and cooking. The first step in the food revolution is to serve healthy and unprocessed foods at all schools in America.

Sign the petition to keep processed foods out of America’s schools.

Food Revolution Solutions:

Where does your food come from? Many people, including myself cannot always answer this question. Knowing where our food comes from is both informational and will lead to healthier eating habits. People are usually afraid of things, ideas and foods that are unfamiliar. If Americans grew some of their own produce or at least knew where it came from and how it was produced, we would most likely eat better quality food and fresh produce.

If we were more connected with our food, we would appreciate the process and environmental systems that are involved with food production. We would have a greater appreciation for the food we eat and the environment.

The potential positive side effects of the food revolution might possibly be renewed environmentalism in America.

Become a chef. Cooking your own meals is healthy for your whole family and usually saves money in the long run. Many processed and prepared meals at the grocery store cost a lot more than making it at home. For example, ever seen the frozen pasta dishes in the freezer isle. You can make the same pasta and other dishes at home for a fraction of the cost, calories and fat. Cooking Light Magazine shares recipes that feed 4 for under 10$.

According to Jamie Oliver, “Switching from processed to fresh food will not only make you feel better but it will add years to your life.”

For those of you reading this, I urge you to take a second look at the food you eat. Next time at the grocery store take the time to choose unprocessed and healthy foods. Make your first stop the produce section. Read ingredient labels.

Rediscover food culture. Many Americans do not associate dinner and food with spending time with loved ones. We are a country of immigrants and behind every family is a history of food culture. If we value family time then preparing, cooking and sharing dinner with family could rediscover our unique food culture.

This weekend take the time to cook your own meals and eat them at the table with your family. Don’t know what to cook? Cooking Light has 20 easy recipes that take 20 minutes or less to make. So what are you waiting for? Get cooking!