Today is New Year's Eve! I finished the 35 books for 2015 and am very looking forward to the start of 2016.
A lot is planned for this new year: I will land my dream job, get married and move across country to Phoenix, AZ this summer. As Semisonic sang it best, this will be my year.
I hope that 2016 will also be a year that brings you career fulfillment, great joy and prosperity.
Happy New Year!
Wow, today is the 30th day of the #90DaysToMyDreamJob challenge! I’m 1/3 of the way through and already a lot has happened. Though I don’t have my new dream job yet, I’ve grown and learned so much.
I’ve given my personal and professional reasons for starting the challenge, I’ve gotten (quasi) poetic, controversial, personal, and downright zany. Yet each time I’ve clicked ‘published’ on my posts in an effort to get closer to achieving my career goal, I’ve also sincerely hoped I’ve inspired and helped you consider your own career development. So many of you have written me words of encouragement and even offered to connect me with those that may lead me to my dream job. I am so grateful to all of you.
Writing for you and hearing your similar career struggles reminds me why I love the work that I want to do: helping employees become the best leaders they can be. Every employee has the capacity to be a great leader. And, at the very least, it’s our duty to be the leader of our own lives. The work we do in our careers isn’t only about what we get done throughout the years, but also about the people we become. When companies recognize this and make a point to positively influence their employees, magic happens.
There are countless surveys that show that people leave bosses, not companies. I know I’m biased for sure with my love for all things leadership, but I have witnessed too many times in my career the negative effects of poor leadership. Employees are miserable and unproductive (or in HR circles ‘disengaged’) attrition rises and eventually, though management too often turns a blind eye to the connection, profits fall.
At the end of this #90DaysToMyDreamJob challenge, I want to formally be working on helping people to either become the best they can be in their jobs or inspire them to take the risk and do the work to find their own dream job. We too often ignore the adage that life is too short to waste our precious time doing work that doesn’t have meaning to us, but it’s imperative that we finally listen.
Thank you for going on this journey with me.
Today I need to work on another personal goal of mine that’s indirectly related to job hunting. Every year for the last three years I’ve set a goal to read as many books as the years I’ve lived. For 2015 then I have to read 35 books before the clock strikes midnight this Thursday. I keep a list of the books I read throughout the year and yet I have 4 more left to finish. The pressure is mounting!
I’ve already shared with you in prior posts my love for reading through my book recommendations, but it bears repeating: I love to read! I love reading so much that I doused myself in books this morning and made my ma capture the moment in the photo above. I have found no greater object that has the capacity to transport me to other worlds, impart age-old wisdom, and imbue connection with the dead and all humanity than a well written book. Books are the vehicle with which I remain a student of life.
Always learning, always exploring new ways and new ideas—that’s what books allow me to do. Even if you don’t care much for reading, consider picking up a book sometime in 2016 and let your mind be open to the possibilities it presents.
I’ve been dragging my feet today to do job hunt related tasks such as finishing the last correspondences with Phoenix, AZ employers I interacted with during last week’s trip. Like a little kid, I’m still giddy from all the Christmas festivities. The holiday season just does that to me, but as one of my Influencers Steven Pressfield frequently writes about, I have to push through the resistance and Do the Work!
So today I’ll write about why Airbnb needs to hire me.
Though Airbnb isn’t a Phoenix based company, I feel compelled to work with them. Even before the magic trio of founders Joe Gebbia, Brian Chesky and Nathan Blecharczyk thought to monetize the homestay experience through one corporation, I’ve made it a point to stay at other’s homes when I’ve traveled throughout the world even though it’s harder to do with a physical disability. For me, it’s what makes my travel experiences so enriching and educational.
Thus far, I’ve stayed at two properties listed on Airbnb and it’s clear that the company desperately needs someone on the team to work with hosts about what their wheelchair accessible designation truly means. All the hosts I’ve contacted are wonderful people and they genuinely embody the welcoming spirit, but their interpretation of ‘wheelchair accessible’ varies wildly.
Airbnb needs me to form relationships with these hosts to help them determine what specifics about their property (door width measurements, bathroom layout, etc) make it accessible and what should be shared on their listing before a guest makes a reservation. This would save a lot of time for both the host and the potential guest with a disability who now have to spend days emailing back and forth on these issues.
I’ve got other ideas for Airbnb to improve the guest and host experience, but then if I revealed them here why would they need to hire me?
Let’s talk Airbnb!
Last week one of the Phoenix employers that I visited and handed my photo to, Tuft & Needle, recommended that I apply using its general application option. I was reluctant since I’ve written before about how blindly submitting an online application is like throwing your resume into a black hole, but this felt different.
I formed connections with the place! I met its employees! This should count for something so today I spent the 1.5+ hrs of my life writing the cover letter and answering the questions on the application to officially be considered for employment.
Here’s hoping I get noticed.
Tuft & Needle, you need me on your team!
I won’t be coy and write that I was raring to work on the job hunt again today after a mini-hiatus from posting to celebrate the holidays. The truth is it takes a tremendous amount of willpower to keep focused and disciplined on finding the right job. There are so many emotional ups and downs, from interview invitations to the copious rejections letters that still manage to sting. I’m always on the lookout then for resources that help in maintaining that much needed focus and motivation.
One such resource was a book I read a few months ago called Willpower by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney. Baumeister is a research psychologist (whose book on Evil: Inside Human Cruelty and Violence radically changed my views on human nature) and Tierney, a science writer. Both authors go in-depth to examine willpower and attempt to demystify its elusive qualities with case studies and research findings.
When I read it I was looking more for guidelines on how to generate more willpower since I’ll admit I’ve always struggled with procrastination. The authors explain that procrastination has less to do with a fixation on ensuring a perfect outcome, but rather an issue with impulse control. That explains why I can be so dang impatient! Like most human beings on the planet, I like things now rather than later.
There are two important takeaways I took from the book that help me in the job hunt. The first is instead of calling upon willpower in times of stress set up an environment that has routines and habits that help in accomplishing a goal. This is one of the main reasons I started the #90DaysToMyDreamJob challenge, it provides me a daily routine and keeps me laser focused on what I’m trying to accomplish.
The second takeaway is that willpower is like an energy source that can be depleted and renewed. Pay attention to that voice when it’s telling you, ‘but I don’t feel like it.’ That may be a physiological signal that your body is low on glucose. Eat something then go back to the task or decision at hand. Sometimes you’ll have to push through anyway with that voice whining in the background, but whatever it is that you’re working on whether it’s writing that hiring manager an email to be considered for a job or going for a 15 minute run to lose weight, you’ll likely not regret doing it afterwards.
I celebrate Christmas and I’m winding down for the holidays. I will return to the Job Hunt full force come December 26th!
Happy Holidays to all!
The Arizona trip is going great and today’s highlight (job hunt wise) was a visit to an up and coming Phoenix based company called Tuft & Needle. I’ve had my eye on them since I came upon their website a few weeks ago. They sell high-end crafted mattresses at low-end prices. When a company is growing as rapidly as they are they need help to ensure their hiring, onboarding and training practices are consistent and effective. I can help them do that!
The showroom visit was awesome and super comfy—we even got to have trial naps on a mattress. Thank you to the two company representatives for graciously showing us around.
Today’s the day! I’m leaving on a jet plane to Phoenix. We’ll be there for just a short time, but savoring every moment.
Wish us safe travels!
Up until now all that I’ve written about Phoenix in this #90DaysToMyDreamJob challenge is that my fiancé and I want to find jobs and move there from our hometown of Philadelphia, PA. I haven’t explained yet why we’re looking to uproot our lives and relocate 2,342 miles away from family and friends.
Why go through all the trouble?
Well, there are two reasons…
One has to do with the practical aspects of the locale such as warmer weather, ranch houses and newer buildings and streets. With my physical condition that causes me to use a power wheelchair I’m more affected by the cold. If the outside temperature is 40 degrees or less my hands stiffen and render themselves useless after 15 minutes of exposure. How do my legs and feet fare? Not much better. They're blocks of ice from mid October to late April. So the allure of living in nine months of 70°+ F weather is clear.
The second reason isn’t as easy to explain. It has to do with the long overdue need for my fiancé and I to go out on our own. For us to live on our own terms, learn from our subsequent mistakes and heed the advice that TI and Rihanna sang best in their song, ‘Live Your Life.’ This dream of forging one’s own path probably started with the first human being ever to wonder, ‘What else is out there?’
We’re no different in dreaming the answer to that same question, but when both dreamers have physical conditions that force them to rely on others for daily help suddenly this quest for exploration and freedom is doubted.
My fiancé and I have only lived on our own when we went off to college. Part of the reason why we left our childhood homes to pursue our educations was to learn how to manage our own care which involved recruiting, hiring, managing and (thankfully infrequent) firing of employees. We learned a ton. Yet when we talk about our plans of moving we’re still asked by concerned family members, ‘How will you manage?’ and ‘Who will take care of you?’
We recognize how fortunate we are for having devoted and caring families and understand that part of the hesitation is because we’ll be missed. Sometimes seeing is believing so when they see us happy in Phoenix their worries will subside. They’ll hear my smile over the phone as I brag about wearing flip flops in February. They’ll sense our excitement as we explain the impact we’re making in our work and they’ll feel the warmth of our hospitality as we’re finally able to give back to them after all these years when they visit our new home.
This is why forging one’s own path is so vital and this is why we’re moving to Phoenix.
Viola. Vi. Vivi.