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Posts Tagged ‘job search’

Eureka! I Found My Motivation!

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on February 16, 2010

Now that I knew my problem was a lack of motivation, I set forth trying to determine what would motivate me. Some people are motivated by “haters”; others are motivated by family. The one thing most of these forces have in common is that they are external forces. Well, I am not motivated by external forces. I didn’t grow up feeling the need to be successful in order to prove something to someone who didn’t believe in me. Nor did I feel pressure to be the future caretaker of the family. Consequently, I developed a highly independent nature, relying on research, deductive reasoning, and some common sense to influence my mindset.

The benefits of being highly independent are clear when it comes to problem solving. You learn how to become resourceful when in need of answers to puzzling questions. I began by asking my friends on social networks and in real life what motivates them. Popular responses included faith, a desire to succeed and bills. In Socratic fashion, I pursued further, unsatisfied with the responses. Every self help book, article, and quote about motivation gives those responses and still people get stuck in the mire of mediocrity. I needed to know what it was about having faith, a desire to succeed, or bills that spurred these people into action; and, not just action, but progression towards goals that they found intrinsically connected them to their inner being.

Far too many people are on paths defined for them. Maybe my Generation Y status gives me a proclivity for idealism, but I believe it necessary to a happy life. Essential to it is defining your own path that connects you to your own spirit. This is not about religion. Connecting to your spirit is about finding who you really are, what you really want to be, and developing a conviction to hurdle over any obstacle that enters your lane. Some people know this, though, and still can’t make the connection. Some people need to start at the beginning by analyzing themselves. If you don’t know what road you should be on, do the following:

  1. Ask yourself what brings a smile to your face
  2. Write it down
  3. Ask yourself what you find yourself talking about all the time
  4. Write it down

After you’ve done these things, you will see a pattern emerge. Somewhere in this list is your career. If you already know what you would do with the rest of your life but can’t get yourself motivated to do it, then you are in the position I was in not too long ago. After talking to people about their motivation and reading through multiple articles and quotations, I realized the secret to finding your motivation has nothing to do with you. Everyone who appears to have a special gift to succeed is only successful because they are motivated by their desire to be of service to others.

Cosmopolitan magazine, Sean Combs, and John Mayer all list multiple motivators. Cosmo suggests that the emotion of envy is an indicator of lack and desire. We become envious of what others have only when it is something that we desire in our own lives. This desire to have what others have is mistaken as a good motivator because it appears to be a catalyst for action. What if you feel undeserving of what others have but still want it? That feeling of being unworthy will kill any desire. In an interview with Playboy Magazine, John Mayer stated the following:

PLAYBOY: So you’ve lost the motivation of playing music to meet girls.

MAYER: If I was playing it so I could meet hot chicks, I’ve met hot chicks, quote unquote. If I was playing it to make a ton of money, I’ve made a ton of money. If I was playing it to be well-known, I am well-known. Once you put aside girls and money, it forces you to realign your motivation for being a musician. Now I’m not a have-not but a have. Which is interesting, because music has to come from a have-not sort of place. And there are many places where I have-not.

PLAYBOY: What motivates you now?

MAYER: My motivation is to prove people wrong, to confuse them. I enjoy the challenge—I must be addicted to the challenge. I’ve gone from being a musician to being a celebrity. And when people do that, their work usually suffers. There are tunes on Battle Studies that are more applicable to other people’s lives than anything I’ve ever written before. This whole time I’ve stayed vulnerable, stayed frustrated, stayed confused. This record is the trade-off to having sort of brutalized myself for a few years. So if people see that over the past couple of years I actually got a firmer grip on writing songs about the ups and downs of life, they might go, “How did he have the time to make a record? Was he writing ‘War of My Life’ in the middle of me thinking he was a douche bag? Did I ever actually know him? Maybe he’s a pretty solid guy.”

John Mayer started his career motivated by women and fame, but he has those now. Without those to serve as motivators, what keeps him interested in playing music? Somewhere in there is a desire for people to be less judgmental. I suggest John Mayer lose the motivation to prove people wrong and write music that allows him to reconnect with his true self – the good guy with the best intentions. Sean Combs has said that his mother served as his main inspiration to become the media mogul that he is today. I’d like to ask him what keeps him motivated now that he can provide everything for her.

I’ve come to realize where my motivation comes from, how I obtained it, and how I will keep it. My hope is that by reading this, you will develop your own realization. My goal is to help you get there from here.

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Am I Really Ready for Success?

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on February 4, 2010

Are you ready for the good life?I was talking to a friend and even through a text message my friend could tell that something was bothering me. I went on to tell how I felt trapped by my circumstances. Some might call what I am experiencing a quarterlife crisis. Circumstances surrounding the incompletion of my higher education have me living at home, working two part-time jobs, and wishing that things could have just been different. What do I want from my life? I want the success that I can see is on the horizon; and, I want it now. I want to move out. I want the life that other people younger than me have. I know I shouldn’t compare my journey to anyone else’s, but I am so so so so so so tired. Mediocrity is exhausting. Then, my friend asked me how I was going to get what I want. My answer: I don’t know.

Every day I’m reminded of how much I want my life to be different. Every time I get on the bus, watching the unwed pregnant teenagers, having to drown out the derogatory tunes emanating from the iPod 5 feet away from me, dodging the smokers’ spit puddles, I say I can’t do this anymore. Then, I wake up and do it all over again the next day. We all know the definition of insanity, right? That’s it. That’s what it is. I’m insane. I must be to want something better for myself, to be able to see it, and to not be trying ridiculously hard every day to achieve it. What is wrong with me? Then, I wondered, “Am I really ready to receive all that I want? Am I really ready for success?”

Stay tuned for the next post in this series on how I started moving towards getting what I want.

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What You Can Learn From Working In Retail

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on November 13, 2009

At the pay desk

Retail – It’s a thankless industry. Between the elitist customers who look down on you for being a lowly salesperson and the family that does the same, you can begin to feel like you’re wasting your time in a position that has no potential to help you in your professional life. Well, you’re wrong. If you’ve been trying your best to get a so-called real job but feel that all you can get is retail, consider yourself lucky because you are now privy to the best on-the-job training for which you will not have to pay.

Your time spent on the floor of your retail store will give you countless hours of access to sensitivity, anger management, and customer service training while, also, developing your social skills, exposing you to deductive reasoning, working with a team, and developing your confidence. If you think these attributes are not important to your professional life, then re-read the skills and requirements that employers are looking for in their job ads.

You will begin to notice that people have a tendency to repeat certain actions. Take notice of these patterns because they can offer much insight. What follows is a list of some behaviors that you should take with you into your professional and personal life.

Read the fine print
When something is on sale, most companies list all of the exclusions in their marketing. This is the same for companies outside of the retail industry. Read through paperwork. Ensure you have full knowledge of what you are entering into. Don’t sign something without this knowledge.

Ask proper questions
Sometimes you can’t answer something for yourself, and you need help. It is perfectly acceptable to ask someone who is more knowledgeable about the subject for assistance. However, they cannot read your mind. “You know what I mean” will not always work. It is best to be clear on what you need so that the other person can adequately and efficiently serve your needs. Give the person clues to help them understand what you need.

Help yourself first
When was the last time you walked into a store that had no marketing, no price labels, and no item descriptions? Not recently, I would bet. How often do you bypass the marketing, price labels, and item descriptions to ask someone what’s on sale, how much something is, or what something is, though? In retail as in life, signs and labels are around to help you help yourself. People are much more willing to help you find a solution to your problem when it appears as though you have taken the initiative to educate yourself on the matter from the outset without expecting that you are entitled to receive the answers from someone else.

Double Check
You were taught this lesson in school. People make mistakes, but agreeing to their mistake will cost you in the end. After you have helped yourself, asked the proper questions, and read the fine print, ensure that all of the facts and figures are correct before signing your name.

Just because it’s on the front table doesn’t mean it’s for you
The first thing that you see is not always the solution to your problem. If you’re allergic to wool, would you buy a sweater without checking the fabric label? In the professional world it is necessary to dig deeper. Guarantee that you have fulfilled your needs before walking away.

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Doing Everything Right But Still Not Getting Hired?

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on September 1, 2009

What advice do you have for new grads in PR/journ/marketing/comm?

What advice do you have for new grads in PR/journ/marketing/comm?

I find so much information about what GenY is not doing right in regards to the interview process, but I know plenty of people who don’t show up to interviews in a bath robe; they have their resumes reviewed by experts; and, they ask what they are told are really great questions; but, they still don’t get hired. I wondered if there is still something that we’re doing wrong.

On August 17, 2009 I was participating in a hashchat called #journchat on Twitter. Towards the end of the discussion the professionals on the chat responded to this question from the host, @journchat: “Q8 What advice do you have for new grads in PR/journ/marketing/comm? Doesn’t have to be social media specific. #journchat” I re-tweeted what @katcalbes said, and, after speaking a few more times, I asked if she would mind offering more advice.

Kat Calbes is a PR strategist and branding counselor based in Los Angeles. What follows is her advice for interviewees on other statements or behaviors that can result in a poor interview.

In general, telling an interviewer that you are a “people person” because you’re an outgoing social butterfly doesn’t mean you should be in PR.  Here are other “no-no” behaviors and statements that can jeopardize one’s potential for landing a job:

Dropping the L-word too many times. This is a personal favorite of mine because I learned this lesson through one of my mentors early in my career. Plenty of young (and not-so-young) professionals wander through life using the “L-word” a bit too much.  It’s distracting. It’s unprofessional. And frankly, I want my company to be represented by someone who can clearly articulate their thoughts.  For example, We represented this “like” one company that “like” offered this “like” product that “like” does X, Y and “like” Z.  It was “like” the best campaign that I “like” ever got to work on and “like” I would work there in “like” a heartbeat.

Showing up to an interview without a portfolio or writing samples. We want to know if you can actually write (not just talk talk talk!). In PR and marketing, writing is one of the most basic, yet most important, tools for success. Writing means both internal and external documents – from press releases and byline articles to internal newsletters and basic memos to your bosses or clients.

Telling the interviewer you don’t really read the news. As PR pros, we need to be alert and on top of current events and trends in order to leverage our company/clients for timely media coverage or promotional opportunities. Make sure to follow the news, read industry-related blogs and pay attention to what is being covered in the media landscape. Hearing an entry-level candidate say, “Oh, I get my news from reading People, InStyle, etc.” is not what you want to hear (unless the position is for entertainment PR, which would then of course be relevant).

Don’t say “Oh, I don’t have any questions, you answered them all already.” It’s important to ask intelligent questions that show your genuine interest in the company. Even if the interviewer has covered every nook and cranny, always have questions handy. Write them down on a notebook (I’ve seen this and totally support it!). If the conversation truly covered every topic under the sun about the job or company, ask questions about the interviewer.  It’s just as important to know more about your future supervisor as it is for them to get to know you. “How did you get started in this company? What have you learned so far in your position?  What do you enjoy the most about your job?  What is your management style? Can you tell me a little about the department or team that I’d be working with?”

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Don’t Treat Me like A College Dropout #2

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on August 18, 2009

college dropout

“The college dropout”. Unless you’re Kanye West or Bill Gates, having this label attributed to you garners only negative attention. To be a college dropout is to be a wasted resource. “It’s a shame to see all that potential go to waste” is what most people say (behind the backs of the people to which they are referring). We hear you, though. You don’t have to say it to our faces because it shows in your eyes. Your body language expresses your contempt for us. It’s a good thing some of us don’t pay attention to your misguided attempts at encouragement, or else we may never get past the pain and onto success.

What follows is an interview conducted with Stephanie Danforth, who is the editor of Venus Diva Magazine. A strong believer in thinking outside of the box, Stephanie is passionately pursuing her dreams in accordance with her reality. She is working with her circumstances towards a path of even greater success.

Did you feel expectations from family, friends or society to succeed in college? If so, what impact did this pressure have on you?

Definitely, coming from a family full of college grads with Masters and PHd’s, being successful in college was the only route to go.  Success as it relates to school started early on for me.  My father was an English professor at a local college.  My grandmother was an Administrative head at an elementary school, and my uncles were all teachers, so to not succeed in college was unheard of.  I didn’t feel pressure to succeed.  I thrive in pressure situations.  It gets my blood boiling. The pressure of success didn’t have as much of an affect on me as the fact that I didn’t graduate.  It’s not like I felt so much pressure that I couldn’t handle it.

How do friends and family treat you because you don’t have a college degree?

I’m not treated any differently by friends, but, at times, I feel like my brothers treat me a little differently. They treat me as if I am not as educated as they are, or don’t understand the struggles of a black college student. Hello, I went to college for over four years, and I don’t have a degree; if anyone understands the struggles, it’s me.  My mom constantly tells me how I need to go back to school but when I think about the jobs that me and my brothers have had, it’s easy to view me as the most successful of the three.  So, my question to them is often, “What did having a degree get you, since I’m making more than you?” Men can be competitive at times, so, sometimes, I have to go there with them.

How do you feel about yourself?

At times I am disappointed in myself not because I didn’t graduate, but because I let it bother me that I didn’t graduate.  I’m proud of everything that I’ve accomplished and believe that everything happens for a reason, but sometimes I think not having a degree messes with my confidence.

Why did you leave school without a degree?

Why did I leave school?  The first time I was put on short term suspension for grades and the second time, financial wouldn’t give me any more money.  I guess the first time I left, I was gone too long and my loan defaulted.  I think.  I really don’t remember the details; all I know was that I ran out of money.

Do you plan to return to get a degree? If so, what is preventing you from returning in the immediate future?

I would like to, but once you start working and having a family, it’s easier said than done.  Right now I have an application in at University of Phoenix; so, as soon as they call me for the job, I will enroll.  When I ran out of aid, I promised myself and my mom that I was going to get my degree, and get someone to pay for it.  If I could afford it, I would, but I can’t; so, U of P, here I come.

What is the biggest myth equated with dropouts that you would like to dispel?

That we are incapable of working in corporate America.  There is nothing that anyone does that cannot be taught. Having a degree does not make you that much smarter.  People seldom go into a career path where their degree can be useful. In my eyes, asking for a person with a degree is nothing more than trying to weed out what’s considered good from bad.

Many people have had to leave school for reasons other than the stereotypical “college just isn’t for me” attitude; and, many would like to return to get their degree, but existing roadblocks make it difficult. Support education reform to enable the passionate people to more efficiently achieve their dreams.

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