Intro To…Owning Your Own Business December 1, 2013Posted by doinglaundryinheels in 21st Century/Technology, Around NYC, Education, Finances, Food/Dining, How To, Intro To, Jobs and Work, Real World.
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Starting your own business can be both the most exciting and the most stressful endeavor many people will ever pursue. Most will find themselves working longer hours than they had ever imagined. This is something that should not be taken lightly, and considering the great investment, be it time and/or money, required,, should be fully thought through before making the leap.
The first step is to make sure you’re doing something you enjoy. It will not be uncommon to work 16+ hour days so if you’re miserable from the start…you can expect a short-lived endeavor. At the same time, the satisfaction you’ll feel at the end of the week knowing all the work you put into growing your own business. This will become your child. It will supplant many relationships. It will have you tearing your hair out. You will ride the highs of landing the big contract. You will suffer the lows of balancing your bills until invoices come due. But succeed or fail, you will learn more about business, and more about yourself, than in any other undertaking you will attempt.
Build a business plan. I cannot stress enough the importance of a business plan. Your business plan is your bible. It tells you what demographics to target in your marketing. It gives your mission. It outlines your vision. It is the guide you reference to make sure you are staying true to the company. A basic business plan has an executive summary, company description, market analysis, management and organizational structure, product or service, marketing and sales plan, funding request, financial projections, and an appendix with financial statements, yelp reviews, whatever. If you want to start to get fancy with it, you can do a SWOT (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats) Analysis, investor exit strategy, and milestones. This business plan should, in essence, detail exactly how the company is going to conduct business. It should describe your product or service, what resources are needed to make business function, what your expenses will be through the first 3-5 years, how your staff will be made up, who your main demographic is that you’ll be targeting, what advertising mediums you’ll use. You should know how much revenue you’ll need every week/month/year to pay your expenses and keep the doors open. To complete your business plan, you must answer all of these questions and more. You can hire a professional to help you out (a quick google search returned one that starts at $395, but remember that you get what you pay for), or you can go at it yourself. There are tons of free resources online that you can use, and most cities have free private and government resources you can access as well. I would say this is especially important for the financial section. If you don’t have experience with financial statements, projections, etc., it can prove to be a quite daunting task. Luckily, however, a cheap option can be just reaching out to people at a local university that are in the finance program. While their model likely won’t be as comprehensive as a CPA’s or an Investment Banker’s, it will likely do the job for what you need it.
I’m a big fan of shows like Kitchen Nightmares, or Bar Rescue, and it kills me when I see an owner that has no clue what his expenses are. I studied finance in college so I might be a bit biased, but I view it as the base of every company. If you don’t know what your expenses are, how can you track your trends, see if you’re spending too much this month? How do you know if you’re actually making money? How to you plan for the future? As soon as you start working on a business, you need to start tracking your money. You should know where every last penny went. The easiest way to do this is to hire an accountant/bookkeeper, but we’re going to assume you’re like me and can’t afford one at first. The next best option is to purchase a program like Quickbooks or Peachtree Accounting. While I believe Peachtree is the better software, Quickbooks is the more popular one so it will be easier to get help when you have issues. There will be more message boards, more references, etc. But either way, these softwares are made with small business owners in mind. They are very intuitive and really make your life easier. Then, at the end of the year, your accountant has a well-organized presentation to work off. You will also be able to generate charts and reports that can help you maximize your profit. I would suggest taking a couple of classes if numbers, and more specifically bookkeeping/accounting, are foreign to you, but the hardest part tends to be putting things in the right accounts. Just fight through this process, and in the future, when you can afford someone on staff, you will be able to look over their work with a knowledgeable eye.
If you’re opening a business it should be because you have a talent that you can leverage as the owner. Maybe you knit well, are a chef, studied music, managed retail stores, read a lot and want to sell books, love being outside and want to landscape, or have any other skill that you think can turn into a business. No matter your skill, it is important to realize your limitations. If you are a great cook at home and want to start a restaurant, fine, but realize that your lack of experience will likely end in ruin if you don’t plan accordingly. Hire people around you that fill in the spaces you’re lacking. Hire a co-chef who has substantial experience under his belt. Bring in an experienced manager for you jewelry shop who has retail experience and can understand the daily workings of a shop. Just because you’re the boss doesn’t mean you need to run everything. Do what you do best, and allow everyone else to do their jobs as well. You will, ultimately, have to oversee everything, but if you hire quality employees you can at least know they have the experience to carry over their previous business practices that proved efficient in the past.
Trekking out on your own can be a scary experience, especially for someone who has worked for other people their whole life, but it can be one of the most rewarding as well. There is no shortcut to success in this world, it takes hard work, careful planning, and a little bit of luck, but anyone can do it. If you’re really interested, make sure to do your research and get ready for the ride.
So, how do I know all this? Well, some of it was part of my major, B.A. in Business Administration – Finance from Morehouse College, but most was a learning experience. I’ve worked with multiple start-ups and early stage companies in sectors ranging from financial services to international luxury goods. Today, I stand before you as a Senior Consultant for Philippe Consulting, a boutique small business consulting firm, and a partner in Seasoned Vegan, the first full-service vegan restaurant in Harlem, NY. Look out for both, on DLIH and the business stage of the world!
“Love what you do and do what you love.” November 18, 2013Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Finances, How To, Jobs and Work, Life Lessons/Growing Up.
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“Love what you do and do what you love. Don’t listen to anyone else who tells you not to do it. You do what you want, what you love. Imagination should be the center of your life.” Ray Bradbury
There is a saying I heard once, a man told his son, “First, find something you love to do. Then, find a way to make money doing it. This is the key to being happy.” When I heard this, I thought it was a genius piece of advice, not because it was true, or to the point, but because the best advice is the kind that isn’t always the easiest to apply or achieve. Finding something you love is hard enough, finding a way to make money doing it seems next to impossible.
After years and years of hard work, dedication and making good choices (good, not always being fun, or the most convenient), I have found a way to make money, and be comfortable, doing something I love. Sure, a lot of it was fate, but most of it was relentless work, never giving up, and always being positive, telling myself there was always a way, one day, that I was going to make this happen. Finding a way to make money doing something you love isn’t always knowing exactly where you want to be in life, but more so, it’s about trying many different things to see what clicks or what feels right. Your journey may take you in directions that seem like the opposite of your goal, but in the long run, everything we do is like a stepping stone to what we want to do.
Age is also misleading, for many of us twenty-somethings there is either plenty of time or barely any time. When we’re in our early twenties, we don’t focus as hard on finding a way to make money doing what we love, because we feel like we’ll get to that eventually, in the inevitable future. When we’re in our mid-twenties we realize that now’s the time to start worrying about our careers, then by the time we’re in our late twenties we scold our former selves for not taking life more seriously when we were 22. However, there’s no way around that, it’s the path of life and even if we feel like we’re running out of time to make our dreams come true, dreams are something that take time and the more we stress about them, the less we’ll accomplish.
For many people, money is the reason they can’t do what they love. Everyone loves something; painting, beer, the internet, buying jewelry, traveling, playing sports. Finding something you love doesn’t mean becoming a professional artist or dropping everything about your life and trying to become a buyer for Kay Jewelers. It means finding a path that will get you to into a world that is about what you love to do. Much of the time these “worlds” or “jobs” have to be hobbies for a while because they don’t pay enough to sustain life. For many people this means devoting extra time to something that’s not necessarily giving much back, besides emotional satisfaction. This may also mean sacrificing time from other things, or people, because it’s important to you.
Then there’s the issue of simply not knowing what you love. People decide they want to make custom frames and open a store on Etsy, but it turns out to not be something they want to do fulltime. Other’s may want to coach kids soccer, but find that the time commitment doesn’t really equal the financial needs. Perhaps you’re the type of person that falls in love too quickly with an idea, or invention, and then a couple of months down the line realize it’s really not what you want to be doing. These things happen, to more people than not. It’s better to try and possibly change your mind, then not try at all. How will you find what you love if you never take the risk to figure it out?
The road to finding a way to make money doing something you love is a long one for most, for some, it’s very easy. There is no blueprint for how it should work. There is a decision you can make to make it work, and not give up on it just because you get sidetracked for a year, a month, or simply a while. To do something you love as a career, you have to be brave, and you have to accept the challenges, and at times, defeat. The reward will be the feeling of achievement and having the opportunity to do what you love, for the rest of your life…even if it takes you 40 years to get there.
Enter, The Internet – Google, Social Media, and Kumbuya October 27, 2013Posted by doinglaundryinheels in 21st Century/Technology, Jobs and Work, Real World, Review.
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“I googled you.” The three most dreaded words in a job applicant’s universe.
Yes, it’s true folks, on a very serious phone interview with the owner and CEO of a company I wanted to work for (many, many moons ago), he said the words of horror.
“I googled you, and I found a website, is it yours?”, the nightmare continued.
After telling him it was, indeed, mine, I tried to deflect, but he persisted, “Why isn’t it on your resume, or your LinkedIn? It’s really impressive.”
“Ugh….Well.” I launched into my explanation. Let’s be real, when you’re applying for a job, people don’t care that you have a “blog” unless is directly related to your field of expertise. It’s never considered a serious writing sample and many times, employers think of it as your “cute hobby”. So, no, I’m not going to tell the CEO of the company about my blog (no matter how proud of it I may be). He surprised me by his response. In today’s growing internet based, social media, communication booming world, many people want to see you relating to people. Believe it or not, some bosses think that our experience in social platforms has taught us valuable lessons that we may not yet realize. It makes us people who want to be out there, want to be branding ourselves and want to be communicating with others, hearing their opinions and voicing our own. It creates community.
From the start, I wanted DLIH to be a community. We’re not there yet, but I hope one day we will have a forum, and a net or relationships where we can support each other, if other’s in our life can’t at that moment. I recently stumbled upon a site that took the idea right out of my head – Kumbuya. No, not Kumbayah, Kum-buya. The site is about finding people with interests like yours, if Pintrest and Tumbler got married, and then their baby had a baby with Twitter, it’s kind of like that. The site isn’t about advertising yourself like Facebook or MySpace have been, but more about merging your ideas with other people, sharing what we find online, and interacting. Some of the communities I’ve joined: The Everygirl, Fitness Motivation (love this one!), and DIY for Home & Fashion and others! This site is going to be something big, take advantage of it while it’s hot! Now, before you think it’s just another site where you post and pick your fav things, there’s a bonus – YOU CAN BUY! AND SELL! and share it all with your buds on every other site.
Okay, okay, let me explain: There’s Craigslist, there’s amazon, ebay, and then there’s your buddy down the hall. Take one part each, mix, add a dash of technology, two tablespoons humor and let sit for six months and there you have it COME-BUY-A: Kumbuya! I have an apron, never worn that I want to sell to a good home, so I sell it on the DIY or Baking Lovers group; I bought the wrong size yoga ball and don’t want to go through the hassle of shipping it back, Kumbuya will send it to the first loving eyes who pay for it. It’s a one stop shop, similar to the other sites but you know what you have is going to someone who really needs and/or wants it.
Social media is becoming larger than its first inception. It’s more than just fun, or networking, it’s becoming the way we see the world today. Perhaps that’s not the best news in the world, maybe we’re forgetting we have the ability to talk to humans, face-to-face, but nonetheless, people are creating new websites everyday. I say jump into the deep end, you can always swim your way out if the inter webs get too much for you. Get your experience in, so when you’re new employer says “I’ve googled you”, you can look them in the eyes and say “Well…it’s about time!”
20-Somethings, Not All of Us Are Yuppies October 11, 2013Posted by doinglaundryinheels in 21st Century/Technology, Education, Family, Finances, Jobs and Work, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Real World.
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First off, homework time! Don’t hate me:
Reading Comprehension: Read this awesome sauce article, it’s really more of a picture book
Questions: What is a Yuppie? What is Generation Y? Why are unicorn’s amazing?!
Now, let me tell you why not all of us are slacking. Before I begin, I would like to address the “I’m special” phenomenon. All of you out there read that and said “Oh, that’s not me, I don’t think I’m special, I actually am”. You’re that guy who is kissing my boss’s butt but a jerk to the rest of us, get over yourself. No one is special. When I was a little girl, my dad never called me a princess, my parents never told me what I did was excellent, and when it was back to school night my parents proudly looked at my work but didn’t scream down the hallway “OH! MY BABY IS SO TALENTED!!!! SO ADVANCED! LOOK AT HER DOODLE!” In my parent’s eyes, of course I was special, but they didn’t want me growing up thinking I was; they wanted me to have a work ethic that would make me work to prove I was worth it, not expect people to just know I was worth it.
There’s this preconceived idea about 20-somethings nowadays, and for the most part, I agree with it. I looked at many of my peers, still on their parent’s family plans at 27 years old, or living with a roommate at 33, and I wonder “Aren’t you hungry to be an adult?”. Generation Y got it easy, we didn’t know too much financial hardship, we didn’t have all that much political warfare growing up, and the housing bubble wasn’t really a big ginobubble yet. Not to mention, we got the computer, the cell phone, the hybrid, the internet. We know how to look up a reference book in the library, we can use a fax machine but we can show our 48-year-old boss how to download an app that will manually shutdown other apps so that his battery doesn’t run down by lunch time. We are super…but we aren’t special. Since we got it so easy, there’s a large group of us that stopped trying. Sure, in our heads we are trying, but in reality we’re lazy compared to generations before us.
However, there are those of us who broke free from the mold (before the Mold Monster could get us, RAAAARR!..okay, sorry, had to.) I don’t remember the last time someone gave me a handout, because it’s been that long since I’ve been supporting myself. I don’t just mean financially, I’ve found all my own jobs since I was about 21, I’ve gotten my own apartments, set-up all of my own accounts, and had to deal with my own taxes. Truth? I hated it, I used to look at my friends or other people my age and be angry at my family problems. I didn’t think it was fair that I couldn’t be on a cell phone family plan, or on my parent’s insurance, or that I had to figure out why I owed 1200 dollars in taxes. I’m not going to give you a line about how it made me stronger, because figuring out stuff alone and young is hard and, I too, will probably shelter my kids from it, but the reality is, I did it.
I hate telling people my age. I think they think less of me because I fall into their “I’m special” category. As I get older, every year, the feeling of needing to prove myself gets less and less, but sometimes I can see it in people’s eyes when I tell them I’m 20-something, sometimes they’re shocked that I’ve got my head screwed on right, and I’m actually accomplished in life.
There is a small branch of us, 20-somethings, that have got it together and by 30 we’re going to be happy, accomplished, and successful, so maybe we are special…we’re special because we’re screwing statistics and fighting the odds, and we’re saying to others “Think what you want, judge me sideways, I know who I am, and I’ve been working to be this person all my life.” We deserve to be proud of that person, we deserve to look at our peers who are making us look bad and ignore them. We deserve more than the credit we’re getting, and we know we aren’t going to get it…that’s why being a non-yuppie is so cool, you always get to prove people wrong, and you get to do it all by yourself, on your own merits and your own time. Rise up non-yuppies! We’re going to take the world by storm!
Dreams Change October 6, 2013Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Jobs and Work, Life Lessons/Growing Up.
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I knew a beautiful ballerina that fought all the odds to get to her dreams. Now, in your head you’re thinking of obstacles like lack of funds, a traumatic incident, coming from a bad neighborhood, the obvious “obstacles” we think of when we hear the verb “overcame”. However, we forget that we fight things everyday. To us, these things don’t seem like obstacles but in reality they are small victories everyday but overtime they become one large string of setbacks that we find a way to get through. If we don’t, we don’t move on through life.
This beautiful dancer I knew is still a beautiful dancer; she is happy and healthy, financially stable, as is her family. She went to a great school, met a great man who is now her husband and has great friends, a wonderful life. However, being on the inside of her life, I know that what appears as flawless from the outside can actual be covered in turmoil in the depths of people’s hearts. This little girl dreamed of being a prima ballerina and graduated as the best in her class, but she couldn’t get into college as a ballet major, so she chose contemporary dance. She graduate as one of the best in her class from college and began a career as a professional dancer. She worked her entire life to prove to people that she was worth more than a small paycheck every now and then, and still, to this day she has learned how to live her life on this paycheck to paycheck schedule. She finally proved herself to some amazing people, but the one place she wanted to dance her whole life, her obsession, her first true love never gave her a chance. In fact, they flat-out told her to stop auditioning because they weren’t interested. So, it seems like a huge failure, it seems like it was one sacrifice after another. The thing about dreams, is that dreams change, and we forget that….and we forget that it’s okay.
When I was a little girl, I thought about being a vet, I also thought about being a pop star, or being on a game show, or even being a fancy journalist reporter (ok…I still think about being a pop star). However, I am none of those things. Today, I have a dream job in my head, and I’m working towards it everyday but I’ve also come to realize that this one pinpoint job has many facets, many areas that interest me and while I’m on my way to getting my dream job, I can also work in jobs that are related to my dream. I can learn new things, that will lead me on new paths and one day I might get my dream job, or I might find a new job and never want to leave it.
Let’s say you want to be a personal trainer. Today, jobs are few and far between, or it can be hard to gain experience. In the meantime, you could find a job teaching kids to play soccer, working on the administrative end of a gym, veer into fields like physical therapy or chiropractics. If the part about being a trainer you like is helping people, you could organize a daily run in the park and have people in your neighborhood join. You may find that you love outdoor workouts with kids more than you like being cooped up in a gym all day. Maybe you’ll learn something new about yourself, how great you are with business, and you’ll want to get your MBA, or open up your own gym rather than simply be a trainer. Who knows where your “dream job” will lead you, you can’t lock yourself into a box that’s all or nothing.
So…how did it end with the beautiful ballerina? She’s a stay at home mom. She didn’t stop dancing because she couldn’t make it, or didn’t want to, she had a baby and suddenly her dream changed. She wanted to have more children and raise them and spend her time making sure they have the best home possible. She wanted to support her husband and build a life for them. To many, this looks like a failure, someone giving up, but there is no better feeling than realizing how truly happy you are and knowing that the choices you made all lead up to this moment.
Follow your dreams, but don’t be afraid to take that hidden path, it may be the one you need to get where you’re going.
The “Bossy” Friend August 11, 2013Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Friendships, Jobs and Work, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Relationships.
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In the professional world, a crazy thing sometimes happens when your partner in crime, your friend three cubicles down, your lunch buddy, your gossip girl, turns into your new boss. Especially in America, everyone is always in “floor it” mode when it comes to their careers, so you can’t deny your friends the opportunity when it shows itself…but how does this affect your job and, most of all, your friendship?
When I had a managerial role, I found it really difficult to find that balance of friend to boss and I won’t lie that I lost a handful of friendships because of my promotion. You need to separate work from fun and Facebook gossip from office tasks. It can be hard to feel the NEED to talk about so-and-so’s ugly breakup but know that you can’t do that now because you’re your friend’s boss. Most of all, it’s hard to reprimand friends when you’re their boss and you just feel uncomfortable. I struggled a lot in this role, even though my bosses were happy with my performance. Now, having been on the other side, I’ve learned what to do and what not to do. So whether you’re the boss or the friend, there’s something for everyone to take away.
About a year ago, a friend of mine, who was a handful of years younger than I, got promoted to a role the essentially managed me and my other co-workers. The first few weeks were tough, because no one could understand the promotion and were worried about how it would change things. At our next meeting my new boss made a speech about how excited she was to continue working with us but in a new role and then made a few inside jokes with some of us. It was comforting that she didn’t want to lose her identity as our old peer and made it sound more like this was an advantage to us; she was someone who knew us, our struggles and needs would be managing us with this information. There were days she had to raise her voice a little and days where “the face” came out, but overall she was open, honest and always kept a very clear and open like of communication with us.
More recently, in another department, a woman who I knew got promoted as well. This situation was totally different. The announcement was only slightly official and she never reached out to welcome us as her new employees or introduce herself. On her first day, she barely spoke to me or some of my co-worker friends, she did, however, favor the co-workers that she knew or had outside relationships with. In the coming weeks, she provided little instruction or guidance for us and when she did, it was very autocratic, even removing us from assignments without explanation because she just didn’t have the time to figure it out. I was late one day, and when I sought her out to apologize for my tardiness she briskly walked past me not reprimanding me, but not acknowledging that I had arrived either. It was disheartening and difficult. Having previously been my peer, I could only feel how wrong she was for a managerial position, but there was nothing I could do but deal. It made me dread going to work and seeing her…even though I adored my job.
Respect is definitely something that is earned and not given. The most important thing I’ve learned from these ladies, and my other employers, is that being a human and understanding that other’s are human is the key to being a good boss. As long as you set the understanding, and they acknowledge it, you can maintain your duel relationship inside and outside of work. Sitting down with your friends and discussing how your feeling will prevent tension, likewise, introducing yourself to your new employees or your new boss will create an open relationship. Bosses need to scold their subordinates sometime, but as long as there is a duel line of respect, it won’t penetrate into a personal attack. Being in charge is never easy, and it’s a fine line when your subordinates are your friends, but at the end of the day respect works both ways.
SK Fashion Post: A-Little-Less-’Bar’ Work Clothes June 5, 2013Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Fashion/Clothes, Jobs and Work, Men, Shopping, Women.
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So you just got the best new job…EVER! Or, at least, that’s how it’s panning out in your mind, or maybe you’ve just received a promotion or found a happy place in your current role. Whatever the situation, let me be the first to congratulate you. Part of the perks of getting a job (…which in 5-10 years will turn into the downfalls), is the super adult-like, professional attire you get to wear. If you’re a gal, it means slim fitting suits, and any accessory you can image to doll up those boring skirt suit ensembles. It means being able to wear a blouse and heels everyday and even don a pair of glasses (real or faux) and have it all look amazing. For guys, it’s about the right to wear that suit and tie. So, for those of you marching about in the general “I’m going to work” get-up, your lives have been made easy by the powers that be, but for the rest of us, somewhere between formal and business casual, it’s like a lost abyss of “look like crapness”.
For a lot of people, the right outfit sets the tone for the kind of day it’s going to be, even if it’s nothing special, dressing for success to impress has been proven to motivate all types or employees and stimulate their brains into work mode. So, what happens when you walk into your office with a chip on your shoulder, and soon find yourself hiding behind your desk? The constant closet battle that plagues us all, dozens of clothes and nothing to wear…after a few weeks of business casual office apparel failures, you’re going to look like this:
Fear not DLIHers, we’ve got you covered. SK faced one such dilemma not too long ago and she’s got the virtual closet of answers.
Getting a new job doesn’t mean needed a shopping spree, make use of what you’ve got. Once you’ve got a few key items in your closet, the rest will fall into place. Make sure to purchase a pair of simply slacks in black, navy, or even some bright colors. Places like Zara, Banana Republic and J. Crew have great stuff like this but it can also be found in department stores.
Invest in a blazer or two, you can throw them over almost anything and it’ll instantly look professional:
I, personally, love to layer my collection of baseball team t-shirts under my blazers for a very hip/trendy look that’s still professional. What about the bottom? Jeans and heels, of course! Heels don’t have to be elaborate or uncomfortable. A simple black pump, or nude wedge will work with almost any outfit and is basic enough that you can go from day to night, or even leave them at the office and wear flip-flops or boots to and from work.
Another item that makes any outfit ready-for-work is a vest. In’vest’ in one or two, they instantly give you a boost of professionalism. In addition, dresses are generally always acceptable. Use your common sense, if you have to wear flip-flops or gladiators with it, it’s probably too casual. Anything that requires a wedge, espadrille, or ballet flat can be easily made appropriate with a small sweater or bolero. Ballet flats are also a great alternative to heels, especially if you have a job that requires you to walk around. Plus, they’re the type of shoe you can have in any color and still be work A-Okay!
Men, these tips are multi-gender! The second you add a vest to your button up, your boss will think you’re ready for the day! I’d recommend having a suit jacket or sport coat in a variety of neutral colors so you can easily throw it on with your jeans and work appropriate sneakers or dress shoes. For day-to-day, a nice, sleek button up with a colorful t-shirt underneath is always a good go to. Ties are a personality thing, if it’s your thing I say go for it, but most business-casual environments don’t require one.
The number one rule (which I self-learned in private school, wearing uniforms) is that accessories are always a go! They instantly make something super casual, that you already have in your closet, into something that looks like you put thought into it. Plus, a lot of great accessories are super cheap and can be found anywhere!
Business-casual means “I’m going to work, not to the bar” so take what you’d wear out, and just cover-up, dress-up, or decorate what you’ve got and you’re ready for that next career move!
20-Somethings, Time to Grow-up June 1, 2013Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Dating, Education, Family, Finances, Jobs and Work, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Men, Real World, Women.
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Here we are, we’re 20-something, its the best time of our lives…well, sort of. Are we doing it right? People say there’s no right or wrong way to live life and if you’re not trying to serial kill your town, I’d say that you’re probably right. Different people are raised in different ways, have different goals, beliefs and opinions about where they should be in life, and where they want to go. Still, isn’t there a time when we should sit down with our 20-something selves and ask “Where am I going?”
The general course of life is that we’re born, we ride bicycles like motorcycles around the block, we try to be popular, we graduate, go to college, get a job, start work and then start living in the real world. More or less, the journeys we take to get there are all a little varied and different but there’s no one out there who says “My goal is to be a fat, lazy, unemployed man in the basement of my parent’s house”. We all want to be successful, but are we doing that? It’s really hard to be in your twenties nowadays, there is SO much pressure to just get it done. We’ve talked about this before, if it isn’t bills, it’s student loans, and if it’s not that, it our aunt breathing down our neck about what age our “eggs” are, or setting us up with her doctor’s son who, ironically, is also in med school. We’re trying to figure out how to function in the real world and we’ve pretty much figured out how to trip without falling and then everyone comes into our lives and starts pushing us over.
So..maybe all that is the reason 20-somethings have retrograded back into teens? Huh? I’m talking about this, “One-third of people in their 20s move to a new residence every year. Forty percent move back home with their parents at least once. They go through an average of seven jobs in their 20s, more job changes than in any other stretch. Two-thirds spend at least some time living with a romantic partner without being married. And marriage occurs later than ever. The median age at first marriage in the early 1970s, when the baby boomers were young, was 21 for women and 23 for men; by 2009 it had climbed to 26 for women and 28 for men, five years in a little more than a generation.” The “changing timetable” towards adulthood. We used to have a grasp on things and now we’re becoming that guy in the basement! How do we make it stop?
Sure, there are a lot of reasons why this is happening, and some of them are really amazing. For example, people have more opportunities to get a higher education and stay in school longer, there are fewer entry-level jobs available so people might be unemployed by default, not because they’re lazy. There’s a large acceptance of domestic partnerships, pre-martial sex and the idea that marriage isn’t a must anymore and with that, women feel less rushed to have babies because they have so many career opportunities. Still, a lot of us are falling back on these reasons simply because we’re Peter Pan, and we don’t want to start achieving those milestones.
What DLIH does love is a good opportunity but what we don’t love is fear, or complacency. As one New Yorker said, “It is a double-edged sword, because on the one hand I am so blessed with my experiences and endless options, but on the other hand, I still feel like a child. I feel like my job isn’t real because I am not where my parents were at my age. Walking home, in the shoes my father bought me, I still feel I have yet to grow up.” Do you still need to grow up? Are you making excuses about why you’re not? Or are you getting defensive about why you shouldn’t be? It’s a fact of life, WE GROW UP. Today’s the day to start that. Sociologists have named five key factors in being an adult: completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having a child. They also say, that while the natural order governs, many do these things out of order which is fine. Just because you didn’t follow the traditional path doesn’t mean you aren’t getting there (I didn’t!). Maybe you don’t want to get married, and maybe you don’t want to have a child, it’s not about the exact physical “doing”, it’s about the emotional and mental readiness to do so. So, what are the true five milestones we’re trying to hit?
- Become an educated, intellectual person, ready to take on the responsibilities of a job
- Become independent, find and make your own home
- Become financially stable, slowly but eventually
- Have the emotional depth and capability of a committed and genuine relationship – with a partner, with your family, with your friends.
- Become a carrying, nurturing person. You don’t need to raise a child, you need to have the capability to care for other’s as a mature individual.
So, where are you? You don’t need a five year plan, some people aren’t like that, but you do need to grow up. It’s happening, trains leaving, so get on….if you miss is now, you might miss the chance to build the life you want, and then, you’ll just have to settle for the life you’ve been given.
Need a little help growing up? That’s okay, we all need a helping hand sometimes. Try these on for size, very much like our childhood game, 20 Questions, answer these twenty life questions, honestly, to find a way to the road you want to be on, or the path you’ve stumbled from: 20 Questions
Resources: What Is It About 20-Somethings? – Robin Marantz Henig, New York Times August 18, 2010 read the entire article for a great, interesting read and more information.
Intro To…Your Horrible Boss May 28, 2013Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Intro To, Jobs and Work, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Real World, Relationships.
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You end up with an amazing job that contains a not so amazing slave driver? How do you deal with? and how long do you put up with it before you 2-week-notice their butts? Speaking from personal experience, I can give you the tools to make work just that much less gruesome.
First and foremost, know that you have rights; and I don’t just mean respect. There are laws in place against discrimination and harassment, for equal pay, work hours and conditions. They’re made to protect you and any violation of these laws is illegal. Everyone says “I hate my boss”, but there are cases out there where employers have actually been fined or jailed due to not following hiring and employment standards. If your seriously concerned that what your boss is doing is illegal, check with the Department of Labor, or your HR department to see what’s up. Don’t be confused or afraid, even the smallest thing, like asking you to work on a Saturday without time and a half can be illegal.
Now, for the rest of us that are only getting bashed over the head metaphorically, here’s how you can avoid verbally accosting the hand that feeds you. Try to have a sit-down with your boss, sometimes people need assistants, directors, employees to see the things they can’t see. It’s your job to bring it to their attention and if they don’t want to listen, guess whose problem that isn’t…yours. Explain how you’ve been feeling in the most PC way and always come in with a suggestion or game plan of how to change things. Bosses love anything on paper, spreadsheets and documents to outline it. Don’t make it too fancy, so it looks like you haven’t been doing your work but make it clear enough that they can understand it at first glance. Propose a new schedule, a new pay raise based on increased responsibilities or maybe a reorganization of your role so that they can be more hands-off.
That’s another thing, bosses love it when you do things in their favor. Let’s say your boss is an extreme micro-manager, strategize how you can become more of an “office manager” and not just their assistant, set up a weekly reporting system where you meet with them to discuss others progress, work, or financial matters. Perhaps your boss has children, showcase how your pay raise might involve taking over some of their tasks so they can be with the kiddos.
Many times, your horrible boss won’t even listen, they’re so narcissistic that they’re beyond help. In this case, deal. Sometimes, it can help you to make it clear to others in your department that you don’t necessarily agree with all the choices made from above, but that this is your job, and you have to do what you boss asks of you. Do this quietly, and carefully so your boss doesn’t catch wind of any betrayal. Always make your boss feel like their right; The copy machine needs new ink [when it doesn’t] – alright! I’ll get right on that; Mary needs to be reprimanded for being late [because her car broke down] – yes, I’ll speak with her. We must be able to find a desk for less than $45 [from a store where the price point begins at $100] – I’ll give them a call, see what I can do. Once again, when it’s time to deliver the bad news, come in with alternatives, but when your boss is bashing you, don’t let them get away with it, stand up for yourself.
In a personal incident, my employer called myself and my superior into his office and proceeded to tell me how he didn’t trust me, felt I was awful at my job, showed no authority or responsibility and told me that if I needed to work until 1am, without extra payment, it was my job to do so. After holding this particular position for three years, and my superior sitting next to me, not standing up for me, it was my time to shine. I politely told him that I disagreed and while I liked my job very much, I had a full to-do list each and every day and I apologized for not being able to get him the report by 4pm (when he asked me to do it at 1pm) but I did say that I could have it to him next business day, and felt that this was a pretty speedy execution time. To that I got “Well, she (pointing to my superior) thinks you’re good at this job…and I don’t think you can hack it.” Again, I politely disagreed. I was later informed, by “she”, that this was his way of motivating me…too bad he didn’t publicly strip me of my integrity, then I’d have enough motivation to run for president! Moments like this are not okay when you’ve done nothing but a good job, and it’s not okay to fly off the handle, but it is okay to politely disagree and state your case.
Many employers are all talk, sometimes; simply threatening to leave will wrap them around your little pinky. Tell them you’re considering an offer with more money at another place, even if it’s total whoopdioo, you’ll be surprised how replacing you might suddenly seem like a worse alternative than just paying you more.People who feel the need to be horrible bosses all have one thing in common, the thing that sets you apart from them- they’re unhappy, insecure people. So, if nothing else, relish the fact that you are better than that and learn from their behavior so as to not repeat it when it’s your time to be the boss.
I Challenge You To a Duel! April 3, 2013Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Apartment Life, Dating, Family, Friendships, How To, Jobs and Work, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Real World, Relationships.
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Around town, this town at least, there’s been a lot of discussion about conflicts. Not just those in the news; which politician angered who, which country is at war with their neighbor, and which celebrity is divorcing their 3 month hubby; but the conflicts that hit us everyday and how we handle them. The passive aggressive friend, the messy roommate, the over-bearing boss or unfaithful partner. Then there are conflicts that you can’t even predict, like your crazy classmate telling you they made a psychic connection with your dog and it told her that it wants to sleep on the bed more. How do you handle them and how do you know that handling them is what you should even be doing in the first place?
Conflicts aren’t just about time and place, but about personality so how you may handle something will differ from how Joe Shmoe Bob Smith will handle it, there is more than one right way to do something, but when it comes to resolving, there are definitely wrong ways to go about it. Many of these case-in-point situations are when a conflict doesn’t need resolution, for those of us who hate tension, this is the best kind of problem to have. Many conflicts, like crazy dog-talking classmate lady, simply need to be ignored rather than addressed. Don’t create a problem if there isn’t one. Many issues dissipate as quickly as they appear, don’t assume something is a mountain when it’s simply a molehill…and then, sqwwwwish it!
However, when things hit the next level, ignoring them will only make them worse. Having a cold means chicken soup and sleep, but having strep throat means getting antibiotics. Some solutions require a little help and a conversation. The best way to address a problem that’s not going away, for example, a messy roommate, is to talk about it. Communication is the number one way to alleviate the problem. Don’t blame or place fault, regardless of how much you may believe the moldy bread on the counter is TOTALLY and COMPLETELY worth blame, the only effect that will have is defense and unless you’re in the mood for a football game, I’d suggest steering clear of anything that can be written with a consonant and a picture of a gate.
Still…we’ve all been in that scenario where we sit down, calmly, express our concern over someone’s behavior and then instead of a warm reception we get attack and verbal battery, almost to the point were we’re convinced that we’re at fault until we remember, no, we’re not the ones who made a dating profile while still with their current significant other. Here, you have two choices, get the bat-mobile and head into battle or, take the higher route and walk away. The reality is that whether you’re good with tension or not, there are something things that can’t be resolved. Sometimes the solution is in your hands and it may not be a convenient one.
Rude friends and annoying co-workers are one thing, but neighbors who think 4am is an acceptable time to play the radio or a boss who won’t stop critiquing your every move aren’t exactly conversations you can have between dinner and a movie. Even if you try to resolve it, they’re called conflicts for a reason because they are conflicting. Some conflicts require change, decisions and tough love. However, they can also be signs, life’s little push in the right direction, moving to a new apartment or finding a new job can be cathartic and while it starts out as the most horrible experience of your life, it may be a blessing in disguise.
To sum all this crazy talk up, tension sucks! But that doesn’t mean you have to live with it. Find the right path to mending the problem and when the solution is no where in sight, do what all the greats before you have done…fix the problem yourself. Let your hell become your paradise and keep optimistic, because no matter how horrid the situation may present itself, the light is always at the end of the tunnel!