Archives for the month of: September, 2013
From left to right, Heidi, Karen, and Mary Kate on my porch on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013.

From left to right, Heidi, Karen, and Mary Kate on my porch on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013.

Heidi:

In my last blog, I went on a limb and wrote about how I changed the way I was thinking about my stress. I talked about a ski mountain metaphor and the moments at the end of the slope where I can look back to see what I’ve accomplished to take pleasure in crazy busy days, i.e. “The pleasure that I can take from this, is that split second I have at the end of the trail, the end of the day, the end of the week, when I look back up the mountain and take pride in the steep, icy hill that I conquered.”.

Well, that’s really self-centered.  Maybe I did need that intensively introspective time to get my head in order, but now that it is, I can’t help but notice the other people in my life who make my life happy.  I see that there are moments throughout the day, times when perhaps instead of “bounding down the hill at full force”, as I put it in my last blog, I stop on the slope to talk to people, or times when the ice is too much and I start sliding and someone catches me.  Maybe I should lay off the metaphors but I can’t help it :).

Let me tell you what I mean.  Thursday morning, I woke up early to my friend telling me that she broke up with her girlfriend.  My empathy was immediately called to action and I took her and her puffy eyes to the drive through of Dunkin Donuts, listening and doing my best to console her.  We came back to the house and sat on my futon until 11:15.

Directly after she left, I got a text from Mary Kate saying that she was in the parking lot and would be coming to my front door in a minute.  The plan was for Mary Kate and Karen to come to my house so that Mary Kate and I could start consulting the other for information about our experience to begin writing each other’s résumés.  Mary Kate and I did this for a while and when Karen got here we all sat on the porch and continued.  At a certain point, we needed a break and I said, “Who wants coffee?” We ended up sitting outside on my porch for three hours with coffee talking non-stop.  We fluctuated between talking about Epic Careering (http://bit.ly/15rywG2), to Ursinus, to the mainstream media, to funny things that happen to us.  I lost track of time being in such stimulating company and conversation.

Two weeks ago, in my last blog I was plowing down the mountain to cope.  After doing this for a while, I began to realize that I need to look for the people who are skiing down with me and enjoy the interactions I have with them, like when Mary Kate and Karen came over.  This, even more than that moment at the end of the slope to look back, is the pleasure I can take from this busy life.   And isn’t it better to look back on what you accomplished with a group of people who all helped each other accomplish it?

MaryKate:

Hi everyone! My name is MaryKate and I interned for Karen back in 2009 while I was a sophomore at Ursinus College. A lot has happened since then! Karen and I have stayed in contact over the years and she has become a kind of mentor to me, teaching me some great skills in her industry. Currently, I do freelance work for her when she needs it and she has also given me some wonderful advice for my own job transition. I graduated from West Chester University last May with my Masters degree in English. About three months after, I found a temporary position at a small company helping them create a website and a print catalog. I enjoyed the people and the work, but not for a long term position. Since the position ended in April, I have been searching for a career and I have good news: I was hired! I will now be a Production Editor at an academic publishing company—just the industry I wanted! I’m very excited to start my new position and I’m thankful for the skills and tools Karen helped me learn to make my transition into full-time work.

Speaking of tools, Karen and I recently discussed three organizing, time-saving apps and I’d like to share overviews of them and suggestions as to how they can be used to help with career transitions. While I was searching for a career, trusted friends and family members frequently mentioned that I had to make looking for a job my full-time job, but a huge part of that searching is organization. How can I organize my strategies, tasks, and documents to make the most out of my job search? The following apps are useful tools for any one in transition:

1.      Trello

Trello is a project management app that allows you to collaborate with others on a project, and to see who is doing what and when. For example, Karen, Heidi, and I use Trello to track this blog and who will be writing it on different weeks. Trello allows you to organize a project or idea on boards that can be further broken down into lists and cards. For example, you can create a board to strategize how to use social networking to market yourself to potential employers. Within this board, you can make lists of different social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Underneath each list, you can create cards that act as tasks. People can comment on your cards and you can easily switch them between lists to track your progress.

Trello is a great app for jobseekers because it allows you to organize your life and goals in a meaningful way. You are able to see all your various boards, lists, and tasks in front of you and you have to ability to choose the way you organize and use Trello to your greatest benefit. Trello is available for iPhones, iPads, Android and Windows 8 devices, Google Chrome, Safari 5 and 6, Firefox, and Internet Explorer 9 and 10.

2.      Any.do

Now, if you are anything like me, you derive immense satisfaction from creating to-do lists and checking off completed tasks. Any.do is a practical task manager app that allows you to make multiple to-do lists and organize them; this enables you to separate the everyday tasks from the bigger, more daunting tasks, such as planning a future vacation. The other great thing about Any.do is that it syncs across multiple devices and operating systems; for example, if you are an Android user but you also use an iPad, you can sync your Any.do account on both of these devices, as well as with Google Chrome on your laptop. You don’t have to worry about downloading multiple apps for multiples devices or systems—they all sync to one Any.do account.

One of my favorite functions of Any.do is the ability to set a specific time each day to plan your upcoming tasks. I need to be reminded to do almost everything these days and Any.do comes chock full of reminders. You can also set tasks for today, tomorrow, and someday, giving you some leeway with your tasks. This is an app that anyone can use, whether you are currently looking to transition or you are settled in a career. Sometimes it’s hard to remember the little tasks when you’re faced with huge ones, such as preparing for an interview or a big project. Any.do can help you organize your various tasks so you can focus on completing them.

3.      Evernote

Evernote is another app I often use to manage tasks. What’s great about Evernote is that you can organize all your notes in one place. If you are browsing online and you find an article about the industry you’re interested in transitioning into, you can add the page to Evernote and add your own notes. You can create folders, notebooks, and individual notes. Also, you can add a voice memo, picture, webpage excerpt, and more. Evernote is available on iOS and Android devices, and your information can be synced among them. It even has a very useful desktop app that will sync to your phone or other device when needed.

One thing to remember about Evernote is that the more you use it, the more useful it becomes. Initially, I only used it to take notes occasionally and create to-do or shopping lists before I found Any.do, but now I use it if I’m doing research for an article, perfecting recipes, or when I was looking for a career. By creating different folders and using the web clips option, I can make notes on the things I really want to save and organizing these notes into easily accessible folders. Evernote isn’t just for work, either. I love to read and I read a lot, so I use Evernote to keep track of the books I want to read. The great thing about it is that I can make a list, add clips from Goodreads or Amazon reviews about certain books and also my own notes. So when I’m ready to search for my next read, I can go onto my Evernote account and make an informed decision.

In today’s world, it seems like people have more to do than ever and staying organized is difficult on the best of days. Technology is advancing quickly and finding the right apps can make your life easier and your career transition smoother. Trello, Any.do, and Evernote are three apps that were created to help people organize, plan, and track their various tasks and projects. If you are a jobseeker in transition, organizational and time-saving apps like these are ways to keep track of your strategies, tasks, interviews, and projects to help you get hired.

iPhone Apps

(Photo by Daniel Y. Go)

This is an actual picture of me skiing on Okemo Mountain in Ludlow, VT taken by my sister, Kristen.

This is an actual picture of me skiing on Okemo Mountain in Ludlow, VT taken by my sister, Kristen.

Heidi: 

Recently I had a dream that I was in the ocean getting knocked around by waves on the shore of a beach.  All of my belongings were in the water.  I swam around, desperately trying to save my laptop, my journal, and other assorted personal items.  I woke up convinced that this was the correct metaphor for my life at the moment. I wrote my last blog post in that tidal wave of stress.  You all saw how that turned out.

I called Karen the day after I had this dream to go over the blog that I posted (entitled Epic Careering Internship).  She said it sounded restrained.  I agreed with her and told her what I was going through.  She said, “Heidi, expanding is uncomfortable” and then advised me to find that short time each day of quiet where I can visualize what I want and how I’m going to get it.

Then it hit me.  Of course my last blog sounded restrained!  I was being restrained.  By my own mind—I was being restrained by my ocean metaphor.  It was time for a change in thought.

A new metaphor came to me today.  It not only fits my situation better, but also it has helped me cope with my stress and find the time to look at what I accomplished and also visualize what I want to do next.

It’s as if I’m skiing, knees bent and poles tucked under my arms.  I am heading full force down a trail.  As I bound down the hill, I keep getting knocked around by the wind and the cold.  Snot is running down my face coupled with some tears and sweat.  I keep finding myself at the bottom of each trail that I’ve taken.

So here I am again at the bottom of the mountain.  But I keep gritting my teeth and saying, you know what?-even though my hands are freezing and I’ve got bruises covering my butt, I can do another run; I can try another trail.  I use my scarf to wipe the tears (and let’s be honest, blow my nose in it too because I’m out of tissues) and get back on the lift up back up the mountain.

The pleasure that I can take from this, is that split second I have at the end of the trail, the end of the day, the end of the week, when I look back up the mountain and take pride in the steep, icy hill that I conquered.  The beauty of the sight doesn’t change with the knowledge that I fell multiple times on the way down (and, may I add, that many people saw me fall).  The sheer beauty of both that which I accomplish and that which I fail to accomplish motivates me to try again.

Karen was right, expanding is uncomfortable.  It’s also about mind power.  Change your metaphor and it’ll change your story.

My success at Epic Careering in picture form.

My experience at Epic Careering in picture form.

Heidi:

My internship with Epic Careering re-framed my future.  I have new goals, new contacts, and new skills that melded with my previous knowledge in ways that continue to provide me with ideas and excitement.

Karen introduced me to her company in early June.  When I found out that she crafted her company from the bottom up according to her interest in helping people in a way she knew how, I lit up.  Immediately, I became fascinated by the idea of entrepreneurship.  It has become a seed in my head that has been pleasantly haunting me as I start my senior year.

As the weeks went on, I learned about Karen’s suite of services and watched her processes of building a résumé from start to finish.  I acquired many new skills not only by observing her, but by participating in the social media sites on behalf of Epic Careering.  I learned how to use Hootsuite, search engine optimize, and spin articles among many other social media practices.  Karen also let my creativity flourish in creating my own projects. One such project being that I created youtube playlists for motivation, doubt, success, leadership, and beginnings by compiling music videos, TED talks, and other inspirational content on youtube. My hope is that anyone who uses Epic Careering’s free resources on the web can view them and be inspired to action somehow in their lives.

As I take the first few steps into my last year at Ursinus College, I am grateful for my internship at Epic Careering.  It taught me a lot about my own career goals.  It made me realize that everything starts at a basic level and grows according to how you nurture it.  That includes entities in the professional and personal realms.  As I turn into the real world, I will try to nurture the entrepreneurial seed that Epic Careering put in my head as well as the professional relationships I made this summer.  Here’s to the future!

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