Job Searching on the Computer Machine
Back in the good old days, my job search took place mostly on Sunday mornings with a cup of coffee, a highlighter and the newspaper classifieds. Those were also the days of nice resume paper and matching envelopes. This was approximately 1 bijillion years ago.
Today, most job search action happens online--and there is no shortage of websites from which to choose. It's also not just about finding posted job openings but leveraging your professional network to find the right position at the right organization. Here are my top 3 websites for leveraging your professional network, researching companies and searching advertised open positions AND 3 extra websites that are also worth checking out.
LinkedIn is pretty much "the show." If you're looking for a job, or just exist as an employable human, you need to have a solid LinkedIn presence that includes a professional head shot, a list of recent job titles, and a fair amount of connections. As a hiring manager, after I review an application, my next step is looking the candidate up on LinkedIn to see what connections or organizations we might have in common. Not having a LinkedIn profile is a severely career limiting move. It very nearly means you don’t exist in the modern world.
There are multiple hour classes on using LinkedIn for maximum professional, and job search, effectiveness. I’ve included a few helpful articles in the “Learn More section. Personally, I use LinkedIn to help me get from applying for a company to talking with an actual person at the organization who can help me get noticed.
When I discover a position that interests me, I then see who I know who works there—and might be willing to refer me. If I don’t know someone directly, I’ll see who I know who might be able to introduce me to a recruiter or possible hiring manager. Personal recommendations make all of the difference—and are much better than trying to fight your way through an online application system.
When it comes to searching for a job opening, Indeed is the place to be. Indeed is an aggregator that brings together jobs posted on multiple websites and let’s you search them all through an easy-to-use interface. You can also upload a resume and customize your profile. There's also a section called "Desired Job" that compels you to specify the job title that interests you, employment status, and eligibility to work in the US. You can also set up options to let employers know that you are actively looking.
Take the time to set up multiple alerts so that you'll be notified when jobs that meet your criteria are posted--and I typically find more open positions on Indeed than on LinkedIn. In addition, you can save jobs and then track where you are at in the hiring process for each opening. If you're applying for multiple positions and want to keep track of the process, Indeed is a great help.
Again, even if I find a job on Indeed, I return to LinkedIn so I can leverage my personal network for the application progress.
As with LinkedIn and Indeed, Glass Door can also be used to search for jobs--and you may find some different job openings here than you find on other sites. However, the true value of Glass Door is company review information.
First off, there is a basic overview for each company. This includes website, headquarters location, number of employees, founding date, type of company, revenue, a summary, mission, awards, etc. Unlike company pages on LinkedIn, which are controlled by each company, Glass Door information is provided by Glass Door users. In fact, companies can not alter what is provided by people sharing feedback on companies and salaries.
Glass Door reviews come from from people who have first-hand experience with each company including current employees, former employees and candidates interviewing with the organization. In fact, in order to access all resources Glass Door has to offer, you’ll be asked to contribute a review.
Just like with Amazon product reviews, keep in mind the mindset of each reviewer. (I think back to my favorite Amazon review ever, where the person basically gave the book 1 star and commented that he hadn’t read it, but that the topic sounded dumb.) The reviews from current employees may be glowing and those from a recently fired employee may be scathing. Regardless of whether or not you agree with someone's assessment of the organization, it's helpful to get multiple viewpoints. Like with all opinions people share with you in life, you get to pick what you want to heed. Use these insights to figure up what items you may want to follow up with during the interview process.
As an extra added bonus, Glass Door also has salary information. I recommend using this as a guideline for what you might be paid rather than a “guarantee” of the rate of pay for a given position. Remember, all salary information is also contributed by individuals, and salary information is based off those inputs—which might not reflect your area of the country, specific job title or skill levels of individuals holding a given job title.
Three More Websites to Check Out
What Do You Think?
What are your favorite career related websites? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Some Days You Go To Work and Come Home With a White Box
Recently, I was laid off from my job. It is the fourth time I’ve been laid off over the course of my 20+ year career in corporate training and development. It’s also the third job I’ve had in a row where the company, not me, decided when my tenure at the organization was complete. I have not actively decided to switch jobs in 13 years. Given my field of choice, training, and my penchant for working for companies that are acquired, struggling, startups or reorganizing, this is a part of my professional life (and also why I moved to a larger job market after layoff number 2). Given my track record, I know how to handle a layoff.
Even though I know the drill, it still sucks each and every time. There’s the loss of a daily routine, the changing of work friendships to acquaintances or regular friends, the excitement (and terror) of getting to find a new job, and the highs and lows of not knowing whether you’ll be unemployed for a week or for a year. It also comes with a new unpaid full-time job—which is finding a new full-time job.
Each layoff has also been a little different. My tenure ranged between 4 months and 8 years. My severance ranged from 2 weeks to 16 weeks. Twice, I could rely on my husband’s income and benefits, and once I was mid-divorce with nearly everything falling apart at once. Regardless of circumstances surrounding a layoff, there are a few good next steps to take.
1. Process Your Emotions
Curse you, feelings!
Losing your job, even through no fault of your own, is an emotional roller coaster. Given how much of your life you spend at work, suddenly not having the same job is a huge change. In fact, it’s the same level of change as things like getting divorced, having close friend die or having to go to prison. You may feel fine one moment, angry the next, then ecstatic, then in tears. Realize this is completely normal.
Just like dealing with a death in the family, you’re dealing with the death of the future you thought you had. Losing that imagined future, regardless of the role that your job plays in your life, is a big loss that needs to be addressed. Figure out how you will cope with these changes. You might choose positive ways (exercise, reconnecting with friends, journaling) or negative (overeating, overthinking, or a good old-fashioned bender). Find your emotional support people and confide in them. Talk to your partner, family and friends. Find a support group (in-person, or online, or both) to help you work through it.
As much as you may want to jump over the part where you have to admit you have feelings that influence how you live your day-to-day life, you need to address them—whether it happens now or later. Personally, two layoffs ago, I was going through a whole bunch of new and exciting (read "stressful”) life changes all at once. Then, I compartmentalized and focused on the business of moving and finding a new job. Once I was in my new job, I pretty much worked during the day and went through the process of dealing with all of the life changes at night. Do what works for you.
A Note About Social Media
As you process your feelings, be cautious about sharing too much on social media. Remember, the things that you share on social media are somewhere at least somewhat publicly available, forever. Even if you post things only to friends on the Facebooks, there is no guarantee that other people won’t see it given Facebook's ever-changing privacy parameters. Process those feelings in private, not in public on social media. You are not a Kardashian. You don't want prospective employers--or everyone ever--to see the dirty details of your process.
2. Manage Your Finances
Disclaimer: (You know there has to be one of these now that we're talking about topics like money and health insurance.) While I know stuff, I'm not a currently licensed, authorized anything. Feel free to take my advice, but double check my facts (and everyone's facts for that matter). This is your life, and you will care more about your finances and health care than anyone else does. With that, read on.
Whew! I'm glad we got THAT out of the way.
Most of us work because we have expensive habits to support—like living indoors and eating on a regular basis. When a job ends, there are financial concerns that need to be addressed right away. While you won’t have the income from your job, you will receive your final paycheck, possibly vacation time that you have earned and, hopefully, severance. You may also have additional sources of income (from a spouse, partner, or additional work). If you receive severance, realize that it may be less money than you think because taxes are taken out of that sum. Depending on your severance package, and the length of your unemployment you may also be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. While this may not be a lot, it will help to cushion the blow.
You also need to revisit your budget. Prioritize paying things like your housing and transportation, and plan to spend less on discretionary expenses like entertainment, shopping and eating at restaurants. If you have an emergency fund, this might be the time you start using that. If not, you may end up accruing a little debt. For most people, this isn't the time to buy a new car or build on to your house. This is the time to scale back and get through the yuck until you're gainfully employed again.
A Note About The Joy That Is Health Insurance
Since many people rely on their employer for health insurance coverage, figuring out this aspect can be tricky. If you are fortunate enough to have a spouse/domestic partner/parent who can bring you onto their health insurance, check that out right away. In general, if you were covered by an employer's plan, and lose that coverage, you will be eligible to switch to another employer sponsored plan. At least ask that question.
If that's not an option, you have a few more decisions to make. If you do receive a severance package, health insurance coverage for some period of time may be included. Find out if your previously employer sponsored health insurance coverage is paid for by the employer, or if you will receive money to cover the cost of coverage. (These are two very different things.) You may also be eligible for COBRA coverage, which means that you would continue your previously employer paid health insurance, but pay for it yourself. Be sure to brace yourself when you see the amount that you will now be charged for that coverage--because it is usually A LOT more than you paid as an employee.
If you are not willing and/or able to continue with your previous employer's health plan, you may be able to go on the insurance exchanges to find coverage. Depending on your situation, you may also opt for the “be careful” health plan (no health coverage, but no sky diving either). Figure out what makes the most sense to you, and how to mitigate any risks you take.
3. Start Your Job Search
Now that you are without a job, you need to figure out how to get a new job—which is no small effort. Think about what kind of a job you want and write it down. Take time to think about the job titles, possible employers and salary range you want to target. It’s hard to find what you want until you actually know what you want to find. Get your resume updated (if you haven’t already). You may even need a couple of different basic resumes if you’ll be applying for different types of jobs. (Personally, I have an instructional designer resume, a training manager resume and a program manager resume.) Figure out how to highlight your unique skill set and showcase what problems you can help your potential employer solve.
From here, start letting people know about your new status of being “in transition” (not unemployed) and ask people for help. Many times, people offer help. Letting them know specifics on how they can help will do wonders. Perhaps they can introduce you to people who work at one of your target companies. Perhaps they know about a position that has not yet been advertised. Perhaps they know someone who knows someone who you should talk to. Maybe they have a lead on an up and coming company who needs someone just like you. Rely on those working relationships that you have built and put them to work. (Also remember that this is a two-way street. Be sure to help your fellow job seekers, or people who are trying to fill positions. Creating mutually beneficial relationships helps everyone.)
Keep in mind there are additional resources beyond your current network. Just like with emotional support, there are groups that can help with job searching. Check out LinkedIn groups, in-person meetups and seminars on how to network. Find a professional group and meet those people. The more people you meet, the better chance you will have to find a new position that is right for you.
Through my many, many layoffs, one thing has remained true. I have always ended up in a better place, both personally and professionally, than I would have expected. I learned new skills, met new people and made life changes that I probably needed to make, but I only did when life gave me the shove I needed.
Weatherman by Willis
I first heard Willis during a performance at Circus Juventas at St. Paul. This song, Weatherman, is from the album Uncle Treacle. Willis is a combination of Lady Gaga's amazing voice with a vaudeville flair. she is well known for her costumers and theatrical makeup.
Weatherman by Daphne Willis
Yes, there is a song entitled "Weatherman" by two artists who have Willis as part of their name. Here is a live version of Weatherman by Daphne Willis. Her vocal range demonstrated in this song is impressive, and she performs music in multiple styles including country, blues and electronica.
Weatherman by Dead Sara
...and now for somethign completely different (and much harder). Dead Sara's is fronted by Emily Armstrong and Siouxsie Medley. The band describes themselves as "an electrifying four-piece rock band whose supercharged music is propelled by Medley’s exhilarating, monster guitar riffs and Armstrong’s powerful, wailing vocals."
My Relationship with Crossovers
I started roller derby earlier this year. When I went to my first practice, I could stand up on skates, and that was about it. Now, a few months in, I can start, stop and do several basic skills. I decided that, in the off season, I would figure out how to do crossovers—which I managed to do (even a couple of months ahead of schedule.) I certainly do not have the best crossover ever, but I can say that I can actually do a crossover, and now I’m fine tuning as I start to think more seriously about 27/5 (and the million other skills I'll need to master before that can happen).
Regular Practice at a Roller Skating Rink
In order to do crossovers, I went to the roller skating rink 1-2 times a week and skated for about 1.5-2 hours each time. I know that in order to master this skill, I needed to skate, try a few things, adjust, and keep skating and trying it. Here is what worked for me as I worked from not being to stand on one foot to being able to do a real live crossover that is ready to be further coached and perfected.
1. Practice standing on one foot.
I know the first time I went to a roller derby class, during our initial skills assessment, they asked us to skate on one foot, and I couldn't do it. Those were not muscles that my desk office worker body had occasion to use. I started by just spending 30 seconds per day standing on each foot. Over time, I would stand in more of a derby stance and shift my weight to one foot (like I need to do when skating) and stand on one foot that way. Build those muscles that you’ll need to use.
2. Wear knee pads at the roller rink. Always.
I find that if I don’t wear at least knee pads, I’ll either not try anything as much as I should or I’ll fall down and it’ll really hurt. Whether you wear real roller derby knee pads or sneaky little under your pants low profile knee pads, wear something to literally cushion the blow.
Remember, you will for sure fall down—probably a lot—while learning how to do this, and without knee pads you will be banged up and it will be unpleasant. Your knees will thank you—as will your future better-able-to-walk self.
3. Practice skating on one foot.
If you can't get your weight on your left leg while skating, you don't be able to pick up your right foot and cross it over. Let me say that again because it’s so important: you can’t pick up your foot if you have your weight on it. (That sounds obvious until you start to skate and then, like an idiot, try to pick up the foot that you have your weight on, fail, fall, then wonder, “why didn’t that work?”)
When you go to the roller rink, practice skating on only one foot while you count to 5, then switch feet. This starts to train your body on weight transfer and builds up your muscle memory on how to do the start of a crossover.
4. Work up to skating on just your left foot on the corners.
When you get to the corners at a skating rink, skate just on your left foot and lift up or push with your right foot. Keep doing this until you can hardly stop yourself from lifting up your foot and putting it over.
5. Watch the other skaters.
When you go to the roller skating rink and you’re skating around, look at the other people skating. Take note of the people who seem to do crossovers without even thinking about it. Watch their feet, and how they shift their weight, and lean into the middle.
During this process, do your best not to hate the people who can just "no big deal" do crossovers.
6. Lean into the middle.
It will feel like you are leaning in a cartoonish manner, but do it. the lean, and being on your left foot, makes it possible for you to get your right foot over.
7. Try to do crossovers standing up instead of in derby stance.
Remember those people at the roller rink? Try to mimic their actions and do a “ no big deal” crossover instead of a heavy duty roller derby crossover. Once you understand the basic foot over foot action, you can work your way up to being more powerful.
8. Do "baby crossovers."
Do the "foot over foot" part of the move, then just keep going. You'll get next to no power (which comes from the crossunder work that you left foot is supposed to do), but that's not the point. The point is to get your right foot up and over your left foot and set it down again. SCORE! This part is the super scary bit. Now skate around and do that a whole bunch. This is huge, amazing progress.
9. Do 2 "baby crossovers" in a row.
They will not be pretty, or particularly good, but you will have crossed over. Twice. DOUBLE SCORE! You're really doing these!
10. Practice. Then practice more. Then practice even more.
For 10 minutes (or more) at a time, skate, and each time you get to a place where you have to turn, do 1-2 crossovers. The more you do them, the easier the motion will become. Over time, they will suck less, and then they will be almost tolerable, and then you will start to feel like you get the basic motion, but like they could get better. The more you do them, the easier they will become, and the better they will get.
From Baby Crossover to Big Time Crossover
At first, you'll have to think really hard each time you get ready to to one. Over time, you'll think less and do more. The more you practice, the more automatic they will be come. You'll start to look like your role models at the rink who do them without thinking! Over time, you'll get into derby stance and start to try them that way. One day, you will magically cross under and go "holy crap! That's what that's supposed to feel like!"
What Do You Think?
What advice helped you learn to do crossovers? What was your "ah-hah" moment? Share in the comments.
Buying a house is one of the largest financial decisions that most of us will ever make. I have bought two houses in my life. The first, I made many, many mistakes that I’ll share here for your amusement and general edification. The second, after having more experience in adulting and all things personal finance, I did in a much more planful and intentional way.
Through these two very different experiences, here are my top three tips for buying a:
A Note on the Use of Information in this Article
Here is my disclaimer regarding the content in this article. (We all know there has to be one of these just to set the record straight.) The ideas included are for educational purposes only, and should not be construed as financial advice. Concepts covered here are overly simplified examples of basic finance related information. Please consult a qualified financial professional to learn additional details about each financial concept and to help you figure out what is right for you.
A List of Don'ts: My Life as a Clueless First Time Home Buyer
The first time I bought a house, I did things in a way that hurts my current, better financially educated self. At the time, my then husband and I, were recently married and realized that more adultier adults bought houses. Here are the highlights of the poor decisions we made during this process:
Downright Awful Decisions:
A List of Dos: My Life as a Much Smarter Home Buyer
Years later, after having worked in the financial services industry for a bit, my soon-to-be fancy new husband and I decided to consider buying a place together. This time around, being 10 years older and a ton smarter, we had a more methodical process.
We talked about how we wanted to live our lives and bought a house that would support those wants and needs. We also worked with a realtor, who helped us through the details of being a smart homebuyer. Finally, we had a greater understanding of the financial aspects and what we were getting ourselves into.
Tip 1: Assessing Housing Wants and Needs
Before looking at houses, we talked about what we each wanted, and what was important to us collectively. We took our lifestyle into consideration and turned those abstractions into our list of must haves and nice to haves. Our list of requirements included the following:
Housing: Must Haves
Housing: Nice to Haves
Once we assessed our needs, we knew what we were looking for. We could also then assess if we were in a financial position to purchase a house that met our needs, or if we needed to wait longer.
Tip 2: Working with a Buyer's Realtor
When buying a house, there is no earthly good reason not to work with a realtor. Realtors get paid a percentage of the cost of the house being bought, which is paid by the seller. In short, it costs you no more money to work with a realtor than to work by yourself.
Realtors will also help you save time, money and frustration because this is what they do for a living. They will help you find possible houses that meet your needs. They arrange house showings so you can privately view a given house. They may also know about houses that are going on the market before they are listed to give you a head start on other potential buyers. They also typically have relationships with people who do financing and home repairs, so they can help with recommendations throughout the whole process. They can walk you through the paperwork from start to finish.
Typical realtors represent people who are buying and selling houses. We worked with one who only helps people buy houses—a buyer’s realtor. Part of the reason why we chose a buyer’s realtor is that their only job was to help us buy a house, not to also sell other people’s houses. This means that they do not have a possible conflict of interest (unlike realtors who both buy and sell houses) since there would be no temptation to try to sell us a house that they had listed.
Tip 3: Learn About the Financial Implications
Some people, mostly homeowners, tout the financial benefits of owning a home—and believe me, there are many. However, buying a home is also a multi-pronged financial commitment that goes beyond the desire to stop "throwing money away" on rent. Here are a few financial factors to consider when considering buying a house.
Figure Out How Much House You Can Afford
There are several calculators available online to help you figure out how much house you might be able to afford. If you look at guidelines for how much of your income should be spend on any given thing, typically they recommend spending 25-35% of your income on housing.
Personally, I think a lot of calculators suggest an amount that is higher than it makes sense to spend. (A calculator I ran recently suggested that I could afford to spend more than twice what I currently spend on my house—which is not something I would ever do on purpose). One more conservative recommendation is that you plan to spend 25% of your net income. (As a reminder, your gross income is the amount that your employer says they pay you, and your net income is the amount of money that actually shows up in your paycheck on payday). In the end, you need to figure out what makes sense for you.
Housing Costs: More Than a Mortgage
Financing Your Home Purchase
It’s not just the purchase price of your house, but how that translates into monthly payments for you. Most people obtain a loan to buy a home, which is called a mortgage. The amount you pay on a monthly basis depends on the interest rate, the term (how long you plan to pay it back) and the amount that you borrow.
There are several loan options, but here are two common ones:
House Buying Expenses
Ongoing Housing Costs
So Now What?
After you have a big long cry after realizing there is more to this than you thought there might be, realize that looking at houses is a part of adulting. Get thee a good buyers realtor, who has been through this a bunch of times, and then can help talk you through what you need to do. The more you know about the processes, the better off you’ll be.
What Do You Think?
What advice do you have for people considering buying a home? What missteps did you make that you’d like to help others avoid?
My Lazy Thyroid
Like many women, I found out that I had thyroid issue, specifically hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, when I was having a hard time losing weight. At that time, in spite of a more-healthy-than-not diet and increased exercise, I was tired and the scale wasn’t moving. It took me a couple of years to get from feeling generally awful, to feeling more like myself again. Here’s a once over on hypothyroidism, causes and basic treatment options.
In my mom’s day, people whispered about their plump aunt who couldn’t help being overweight because she had a “glandular problem.” Now, we call that hypothyroidism. In short, the thyroid (a butterfly-shaped gland around the throat) isn’t doing its job of creating sufficient thyroid hormone to keep the body running smoothly. Thyroid hormone impacts most of the body’s systems, including metabolic rate.
Ergo, the aforementioned heavy aunt had a body that was out of whack and made it difficult (or nigh impossible) for her to burn off those nagging extra pounds.
Commonality and Causes of Hypothyroidism
According to the American Thyroid Association, in the United States, as many as 20 million people have a thyroid related disease, and of those 60% may have no clue there is an issue. As an extra added bonus, women are way more likely to develop a thyroid condition (like 5 to 8 times more likely) and 1 in 8 women will develop a thyroid disease at some point in their lives. Thyroid conditions can include hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid gland), hypothyroidism (an under active thyroid gland) or thyroid cancer. Yay womanhood!
As for causes, no one really knows for sure. (That’s not particularly comforting.) Like with most illnesses, stress is certainly a factor, as is genetics—and being a woman makes it more likely, too. Some will say that toxins in our environment—including our personal care products and cleaning supplies--put us at higher risk. Increased gluten in our food isn’t doing us any favors either.
How Hypothyroidism Feels
The quick answer is--not good.
For me, I was just generally tired and run down. (Which, unfortunately, can just be caused by adulthood and the pressures of raising a family, going to work and trying to carve out time to do something for yourself that doesn’t involve the other two.) In addition to having issues losing weight, I started gaining more weight around the middle.
Since I was in my early 40s, I originally assumed that my symptoms were menopause related. To my surprise, as I researched, I discovered that there are 300+ possibly symptoms of hypothyroidism including hot flashes, excessive sweating, having issues concentrating and trouble sleeping. I also realized that depression, like the days when it was all I could do to force myself to complete routine tasks, were hypothyroidism related. On the weirder end, excessive crying (which made work an absolute joy for my poor, mostly male coworkers), sensitivity to light, being easily startled and having a hard time breathing deeply, were all due to my under active thyroid. Again, yay womanhood!
The Trick That Is Diagnosing Hypothyroidism
Getting diagnosed with hypothyroidism is often difficult. For one, many doctors are resistant to testing for it—partly due to what seems to be a general bias against women saying that they don’t feel well and writing that off as invalid. Having a family history of hypothyroidism (which I have, but didn’t realize I had until after I was diagnosed) can help persuade doctors to run tests. Fortunately, I have a supportive doctor who was willing to give me a TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) test during more than one annual physical exam. In the end, it was nice to at have a for-real diagnosis and the validation that something was actually medically wrong. I was happy to have a specific problem to solve.
As for treatment, prescription medication replacing your missing thyroid is diagnosed, and is a must to get your body working properly. For most people, taking medication for the rest of your life is the treatment plan.
The current go-to drug is Levothyroxine (often as the name brand, Synthroid), which is a synthetic hormone. Another treatment option, which was standard prior to synthetic thyroid, is natural desiccated thyroid (often as name brand Armor Thyroid or Nature-Throid). Natural desiccated thyroid is derived from pigs, and has shown to have more favorable results for many women. On an ongoing basis, the TSH test, and additional tests, are completed on a regular basis to make sure that levels are in line with the reference levels.
In some underdeveloped nations, hypothyroidism may be caused by an iodine deficiency. In the United States, given our sodium laden diet, most people who exhibit symptoms of hypothyroidism actually have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease where your body’s immune system decides that your thyroid is the enemy and must be destroyed. Hashimoto's is the underlying cause of hypothyroidism.
Advocating for Your Own Health
A family friend of mine battled cancer successfully for several years--much longer that her health care providers through possible. From her struggles, I learned the importance of being my own health care advocate. While I'm sure my doctors care about my health, I am also certain that I care about my own well-being more than anyone else can. Fortunately, my pre-disposition to researching and learning helped me to seek out a specialist, change medications and take additional steps to make my life better above and beyond just the medication.
What Do You Think?
Have you been diagnosed with hypothyroidism? What was your experience like? Share your thoughts, opinions and experiences in the comments section below.
I remember in college, watching Nirvana perform Smells Like Teen Spirit on MTV. It was like nothing I'd ever seen before. I also remember them publishing a version of the video clarifying what the sometimes mumbled words were, and then seeing the video again interspersed with a grieving Courtney Love lamenting Kurt Cobain's untimely death.
Fast forward many, many years. My daughter's junior high school band covered this song at a recent concert, which inspired me to find new, different covers of this now retro song.
Smells Like Teen Spirit: It Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't Got That Swing
This version features a starlet Robyn Adele Anderson covering the song with a 1940's swing style.
Smells Like Teen Spirit: Full Orchestra and Choir
More instruments! More vocals! Even more smelling like Teen Spirit!
Smells Like Teen Spirit: A Capella
...and now for something completely different. This time, no instruments at all are needed. Instead, it's four guys, Maybebop, with microphones in a hallway doing amazing things with only their voices.
Going to work expecting to finish up a report and lead a meeting and having your workday end abruptly at 10:00 AM walking to your car with a box containing all of your workly positions, is jarring. What's even more jarring is the realization that now--SURPRISE--you have to find a new job so that you can continue your extravagant lifestyle of living indoors and eating on a regular basis.
For the whole of my professional career, I have worked in the field of corporate education in positions like software trainer, training specialist, sales training manager and instructional designer. Like many of my colleagues, I've also been laid off three times in my 20+ year career. (I know people who have me beat by at least a couple of times.) While fixating on the fear of losing your job is a horrible way to exist, there are a few things that you can do now--while you're happily, gainfully employed--that can help lessen the blow if you do happen to find yourself suddenly in need of a new position.
Build Your Professional Network
If you read any articles about effective ways to find a new position, leveraging your professional network is a key piece of advice. It's also harder to start networking when you have your proverbial hat in your hand and need something. It's better to start building your professional network before you need something. Your network is also much more than a job search resource.
LinkedIn is a great tool to help you build and connect with your professional network. At my current job, I connect with people on LinkedIn after we have met in person and even had a chance to work together. This way, the people in my LinkedIn network are not just a collection of random people I have as connections, but people who I actually know in a work context. I connect with people from my company, previous coworkers, friends from college, people I meet at professional development meetings and people who work as vendors with my current company.
I also foster a give and take of information with my network. I promote awards that my current company receives, share video content I've made and share resources that might benefit others. I also learn a lot from other people's postings, whether it's a useful article that a colleague wrote, an event that I may want to attend or industry news that might impact what educational content I might want to create next.
Update Your Resume In Real Time
My most recent layoff (which was 3+ years ago) happened after I had worked at the organization for 8 years. When my position was eliminated due to corporate restructuring, putting my resume together again was a challenge since I had years of diverse work experience to document. At that time, I knew details about recent projects, but it was harder for me to piece together all that I had done, and salient details that would help me get hired elsewhere.
Fortunately, and in rather unusual fashion, I was given a couple of months of notice that my job would be ending. That gave me the time to review my calendar, and files, to put together detailed descriptions of what I had done. This helped me put together a master resume. This isn't the final resume that you use to apply for a position. This is the big huge ridiculous document that contains everything you've done ever. From here, you pick and choose details that you'll include in your for real applying-for-a-job resume.
In general, I've become more proactive about recording what I do. In my time with my current company, I've had multiple job titles, managers and responsibilities. While these projects are fresh in my mind, I write down specifics on what I did, who I worked with, outcomes and tangible results. This helps me not only for a someday job search, but it also helps me position myself for additional projects, with professional organizations and as my company grows and evolves. Keeping a detailed list of projects, responsibilities and skills you were able to use will make resume writing much easier when the time comes.
Learn New Skills
Once upon a time, I was planning on being a high school English teacher. While my current career path focuses on education, suffice it to say that I ended up in a very different place than I originally envisioned. For example, much of my work in my day job revolves around planning, scripting and creating microlearning videos. Even 5 years ago, while I understood how to break down complex concepts to help others understand them, I did not have the technological skills created educational videos.
When I look at how the world has changed since earned my undergraduate degree, it's amazing. One of my first training jobs was as a software instructor teaching people how to use the big scary Internet. My first few job searches were done relying predominantly on the want ads in the Sunday newspaper. At one company, we were on the bleeding edge of technology by using instructor-led web based training before training by webinar was standard. With advances in technology, the workforce, and worldwide economic factors, things are always changing, and to stay employeable, you need to keep up.
Don't wait until your job's future seems uncertain to start learning. Go to professional meetings. Read website dedicated to your field. Listen to podcasts on topics of interest. Look at job descriptions for emerging positions to see what kinds of skills are in demand. Keep updating your skills so you're not left behind when change happens around you. Be Amazon, not Nokia.
What Do You Think?
What other career advice do you have to share?
Support your local roller derby!
In the Minneapolis/St Paul, Minnesota area, there are multiple opportunities for adults, teens and children to watch, and even learn to play, roller derby. Here's the lowdown on each organization.
Where to Attend a Roller Derby Bout as a Spectator
North Star Roller Derby
North Star Roller Derby (formerly known as the North Star Roller Girls) is a skater-owned and operated flat track roller derby league in Minneapolis that is affiliated with the WFTDA (Women's Flat Track Derby Association). Bouts are held approximately 6 times per season at the Lee & Rose Warner Coliseum at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St Paul. The four home teams are the Banger Sisters, Delta Delta Di, the Kilmore Girls, and the Violent Femmes. Northstar Roller Derby also has two travel teams: the Supernovas and the Northern Lights.
The Minnesota Rollergirls is a skater-owned, flat-track roller derby league in St Paul that is also affiliated with the WFTDA. Bouts are held approximately 6 times per season at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium in downtown Saint Paul. The four home teams are the Atomic Bombshells, the Dagger Dolls, the Garda Belts, and the Rockits. In addition, The Minnesota RollerGirls have two traveling teams: the Minnesota Rollergirls All-Stars (A Team) and The Minnesota Nice (B Team).
Minnesota Men's Roller Derby
Minnesota Men's Roller Derby is a member of the MRDA (Men's Roller Derby Association). Teams are comprised of inline skaters, former hockey players and more. Bouts are held approximately 6 times per season at Champion's Hall in Eden Prairie. There are two home teams for regularly scheduled bouts: Destruction Workers and Thunderjacks. There are also two traveling teams: TC Terrors (A Team) and The Terrordactyls (B Team).
Learning Roller Derby: Adults
Satelites is the North Star Roller Derby's recreational roller derby league. Skaters of all skill levels from those with no skating experience to those retired from competitive roller derby and everyone in between are welcome. In order to participate, you need to be at least 18 years old, have safety gear and have primary health insurance. Purchasing WFTDA insurance is also required.
There are three levels: Space Cadets (beginners), Space Rangers (intermediate) and Astronaughties (advanced). This is a great place to learn roller derby whether your goal is to be more active or if you aspire to compete. Typically there are fall and winter sessions with the option to practice once or twice a week.
(As a point of reference, I've been part of the Satellites program since early 2017, and I love it.)
Debu-Taunts is the training program affiliated with the Minnesota Rollergirls. The Debu-Taunts give skaters a positive and challenging environment to learn roller derby skills whether they aspire to try out for the competitive teams or to play recreationally. In order to participate, you need to be at least 18 years old, have safety gear and have health insurance. Purchasing WFTDA insurance is also required.
Debu-Taunts practice twice per week and hold 12 week training sessions in the fall and in the spring. There is currently a waiting list to participate.
Some people, who are doubly dedicated to learning and practicing roller derby as much as possible, enroll in both the Debu-Taunts AND the Satellites programs.
Fresh Meat Locker
The Fresh Meat Locker (or FML) is the training program for the Minnesota Men's Roller Derby. The program is open to people over age 18 of all gender identities. This training program is intended to help teach new skaters roller derby skills to help them become "battle-ready derby superstars." Contact Minnesota Men's Roller Derby for details.
Learning Roller Derby: Children and Teens
Twin Cities Junior Roller Derby
Twin Cities Junior Roller Derby helps "Derby Dudes and Derby Dames" from ages 3-17 learn roller derby skills. Skaters can come in with no skating experience at all or feeling very comfortable on skates. They typically have a fall session and a winter session where skill groups, (beginning, intermediate and advanced) each have dedicated training times. Many trainers have competed in roller derby, and enjoy helping children learn basic skills. Skaters get to pick their roller derby names, can purchase TCJRD scrimmage jerseys and can participate in scrimmages with other area teams on occasion, too.
(As a point of reference, my daughter has been involved with TCJRD since early 2017 and has enjoyed it so far.)
NERDY Junior Roller Derby
NERDY Junior Roller Derby (North East Roller Derby Youth) helps children from ages 7-17 learn roller derby skills regardless of their skill level coming. They organize skaters by size (rather than skating levels) into "Bigs" and "Littles" and into "contact" and "non-contact" for scrimmaging purposes. Many trainers have competed in roller derby, and enjoy helping children learn basic skills. Skaters have the change to sign up to practice twice per week, and skaters can drop in for practices and pay a per-class rate. Skaters get to pick their roller derby names, can purchase NERDY scrimmage jerseys and can participate in scrimmages with other area teams on occasion, too.
What Do You Think?
Additions? Corrections? Thoughts? Share your input in the comments.
Figuring out how to stay healthy is a bijillion dollar business. On a daily basis, we see ads trying to sell us products and services to help us eat less, move more or cure what else ails me. A big part of adulting is figuring out how to take care of your health so you have the energy and wherewithall to do all of the other adulting that needs to be done.
A lot of the issues that we have as adults are not problems we had as children. Children eat when they are hungry, play when they are antsy and sleep when they are tired. As we grow up, we're told taught that those thing we do naturally are all wrong, and we learn to adapt. Unfortunately, when we become the adults, we try to relearn ways of being that actually work.
Fortunately, through sheer luck, I have managed not to parent every good instinct out of my child, so she has less to unlearn and relearn. Here are my top three pieces of advice for my daughter on the topic of physical health. It's also a good reminder for those of us who are grown adults who need to remind ourselves of some key habits that can help us course-correct our current unhealthy path.
Eat When You're Hungry; Stop When You're Full
Like many adults, I've had a lifelong battle with my weight, which is sometimes more successful than others. One issue that I have is emotional eating. In short, I have a terrible habit of eating for reasons that are not being hungry. As children, we all get this. We eat when we're hungry, and stop when we're full--and it infuriates the adults in their lives to no end. I think of the speeches I received as a child about not wasting food, cleaning my plate, finishing what I ordered at a restaurant and more. I've personally seen adults eat food I have left on my plate instead of having to watch it "go to waste." The irony is that we're' treating ourselves as a garbage can by eating when we not hungry for out of some misplaced sense of financial prudence.
Fortunately, you get the whole "eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full" thing way more than I ever have. Keep having those healthy boundaries when it comes to food. Don't listen to people who tell you that you have to eat the special cookies/cake/jam made specially for you, , that you're too skinny, or that stuffing food in your face when you're not hungry is any kind of a good idea. Be polite and thank people for whatever they offer, and turn them down. This one habit will save you the frustration of unnecessary weight gain more than any other habit.
As a small child, you were all about playing. There was recess at school, hitting the playground on weekends and a neverending barrage of birthday parties featuring laser tag, jumpy castles and swimming. Over time, that slowed down. Now recess is a thing of the past, but there is jui jitsu, roller skating, roller derby, trips to the waterpark, walking around the neighborhood with friends and circus classes. The older you get, there will be less opportunities for physical activity, and more times when you'll be watching videos, working on a computer or just generally being stationary. You will most likely end up with an office job that involves more sitting than not.
As you get older, and more "grown up," keep on playing and being physically active. Go canoeing, skating and hiking. When hanging out with friends, walk and talk, don't just go to a coffee shop or restaurant. Find something that you love and keep doing it--whether it's biking, or martial arts, or climbing or something totally else. Just keep moving.
Sometimes people think that exercise has to be awful and unpleasant. Don't try to make yourself to something you hate. Find something active you like and do that. You don't have to run, do cross fit or do yoga flow if that isn't your thing. Just do something to stay active, and keep trying new things to keep moving your body. Build movement into your life so it's just a natural thing that you WANT to do, not something you HAVE to do.
Get Enough Sleep
You know what else most adults are terrible at? Getting enough sleep. Most adults skimp on sleep under the guise of getting more done--and we typically are less efficient and effective when we don't sleep enough.
So what should you do? Go to bed when you are tired. If you'll be out late, take a disco nap to help make up for the sleep you won't get that night. If you have a "slumber party", get some sleep the day after. Go to bed at a decent time on school nights so that getting up isn't any more unpleasant that it needs to be. Get 8 or more hours of sleep a night. Everything is better when you're not overtired.
So why get sleep? As if the beauty of taking naps isn't enough, here are just a few reasons why getting enough sleep is important. It helps you continue to grow in your ongoing quest to be a head taller than me. It also helps you think more clearly and enjoy things more. It helps you be in a better mood and not cranky. You make better decisions when you're well rested. It also helps keep your weight in check and regulates your mood. Sleep is the most underrated thing you can do to maintain your overall well-being.
What Do You Think?
What are your top pieces of health advice?
I learn for a living. I distill my research into useful blog entries. Geek, parent, knitter, yogi, writer, educator, businessperson, gluten intolerant & roller derby nerd.