Posts tagged Millennial
5 Tips For Women Feeling Stuck in Their Careers
 

Jennie here.
 

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We missed the Thanksgiving publishing window to go camping in Joshua Tree, but we wanted to say thank you to all of our readers. We’re grateful you take the time out of your day to visit our humble blog.

Now back to regular programming.

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We've all got goals - whether it's personal or work-related, but the simple act of setting a goal doesn't equal success. Goals take action and commitment. You also have to have the perseverance to stick through the toughest days, even when it feels like nothing you do matters.


Challenges: Working In Tech As A Female Millennial

Even though I’ve done the right things (e.g. made myself valuable, delivered quality work, pitched ideas, took risks, spoke up at meetings, etc.), I felt like I’d trapped myself in “career limbo” for the past year.

Two years ago, I was the first marketing hire for a tech start-up. It was challenging but I was excited by the opportunity to build an entire marketing program from scratch. As we hired more people, however, and I had to “let go of my legos (responsibilities)”, I’ve found it difficult to pivot from a generalist (someone who has a hand in every project) to a more specialized leadership role (AKA “an expert”).

Even though I’ve done the right things (e.g. made myself valuable, delivered quality work, pitched ideas, took risks, spoke up at meetings, etc.), for the past year, I felt like I’d trapped myself in some sort of “career limbo.”

Here are the challenges I faced moving up in my company:

  • My company’s culture is heavily (alpha) male-centric. Currently, women only account for 17% of my organization. Frankly, I’ve found it difficult to overcome this “cultural fit” simply because I couldn’t relate to the casual conversations going on around me (i.e. sports or the latest fantasy football rankings). By contrast, a more recently hired male colleague on my team (perfectly nice guy, btw) quickly gained favor with the group that I’d been desperately trying to connect with - simply because they could relate to each other better.

  • People weren’t taking me seriously due to early perceptions. I came on as the catch-all person for marketing; I learned everything from scratch from lead generation to social campaigns to SEO and messaging. But I quickly realized (and confirmed) that in the eyes of my colleagues, I was seen as some glorified admin. I was always the go-to for logistical or tactical problems. The perception was that there was no way I could "handle" a leadership role.

Over the past month, I’ve been thinking through and processing how to push through these barriers. Maybe it’s just stubbornness on my part, but no matter how “unfair” a situation seems, or how heavily the odds seem stacked against me, I refuse to think of myself as a victim.


5 Ways To Get Back On Track

With Your Career & Goals


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For anyone else feeling like they’re stuck in “career limbo”, here are the steps that got me out of my slump:

  1. First, take a step back and breath. The world isn't going to end. Truthfully, reality just hasn't caught up to your expectations yet. In most cases, moving up within an organization takes time because you can’t just expect that you’ll gain immediate respect or forge new relationships overnight. It takes time.
     

  2. Make a list of all the things you've accomplished (that you're proud of) so far - this calendar year. The reason why is because we don't cut ourselves enough slack. When you map out everything you've achieved, you'll start to see that you've been making incremental progress all along.
     

  3. When you're feeling discouraged, do something to get you re-engaged and excited. I was losing confidence in my work and in myself because I felt stagnant. And what got me back on track was working on projects (e.g. freelancing) outside of my workplace. It helped bring a lot of perspective and confidence back into my life because I knew that I had a lot of skills to offer. The engagement also got me excited about other ideas for how I could improve at work. What gets you excited about your work and life?
     

  4. When it feels tough, let your emotions out. I'm not sure about anyone else, but sometimes I like to “cry it out” because it feels cathartic. I'm not saying you should do this in front of anyone - only someone you trust. When I'm at my lowest points (e.g. late nights after a long work day), I always have Ivan. He listens and offers rational (read: cold-blooded) advice because he’s not as emotionally invested in the situation. Those moments helped me stay sane and allow me to vent - without burning bridges at work.
     

  5. Get back on track by mapping out every single step. This is a little tedious but when you get frustrated, you should take a step back and write out every single step to get to your desired goal. Get into the nitty gritty and map out every minute detail. In my case, I had to think about all the ways I could re-engage with my co-workers and make a list of who to take out for coffee. I made a plan for how to present myself in meetings and drafted potential projects I wanted to pitch to my boss. I even thought about my next steps for a promotion and ways I could justify it.

I haven’t achieved my goals yet, but at least now I know what things are in my control. All of these steps help to bring some perspective back into my life. At the end of the day, I know I’m not saving the world. I’m just developing a different way of looking at personal obstacles that felt insurmountable yesterday.

This makes me feel grateful for today, while looking forward to tomorrow.



A Female Millennial’s Perspective On Having Children

This is Part One of a two part series where Ivan and I debate the pros and cons of having children. For a response to this serious issue from a millennial guy’s perspective, please read Ivan’s post here. 


Jennie here.

Ivan and I are hitting that inevitable point in our marriage where we start talking about whether or not we want to have children. We’re both 28 this year, going on 29. We're on the same page for the most part, and feel like we can swing in either direction. Naturally, no actual family planning will be taking place until after we get back from our round-the-world trip in 2018/2019.

Even though we're at least 2-3 years away from making a serious commitment, I still find myself weighing the pros and cons:


6 Reasons Why Having a Child Could Ruin My Life


 
 

1. Lost [career] opportunities and guilt.

According to PayScale.com, a woman’s pay peaks at age 39. Based on the same data, men’s salaries continue to grow until age 48, and top out at a median of $95,000. That's fucking bullshit. Not only do I have to juggle being a parent by my early to mid 30's, this also coincides with my highest potential earning years of my career. I worry that having a child would be settling, and that it might come at the cost of my career growth.

2. Children may not fit in with our desired lifestyle.

Sure, I understand children are resilient, but what if after our round-the-world trip we decide to just keep going and not come back? Is it feasible or reasonable to continue on our nomadic and location-independent way of life and have a child? I worry our kid might grow up to resent us for an unstable childhood.

3. My life won't be my own. 

When you raise a child, your interests become mixed up with theirs. Doesn’t having children mean your life and choices are altered forever? That’s a scary thought; because I know myself --  I can already foresee the frustrations that comes with that.

4. Rising cost of childcare.

The average middle class income household spends more than $230,000 on one child from birth to the age of 17. That’s ridiculous. How do families manage to save for themselves and their child? Realistically, it will cost more with the skyrocketing costs of childcare and education. Prices for child care range between $3,582 to $18,773 a year (or $300 to $1,564 monthly).

5. The physical cost of pregnancy and postpartum.

Sure, let’s go there. Whenever I think of childbirth I think of the movie Alien. I am terrified of the pain I will have to endure during pregnancy and post-labor. FYI, I’m extremely petite and just shy of 5 feet (152.4 cm). Just imagining this makes me want to walk across the room and punch Ivan in the face. It’s not fair. Not only will I be responsible for nurturing a child, I will also endure hormonally tough days with no sleep. I’ve seen friends go through it and I don't know if I'll have the patience or the stamina for such a trying experience.

6. Fear of reliving my childhood.

My parents love me, but they struggled in a lot of ways and it really gave my siblings and me a lot of grief. I can remember moments I still resent or feel anxious over and I worry I could impart the same stress onto my own child. While Ivan and I are taking the right financial precautions, nothing is ever guaranteed. Life comes at you fast.


2 Reasons Why Having Children Might Not be a Total Trainwreck


 
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1. A way to continue our story and legacy.

I grew up in tough family conditions but my parents lived through the Vietnam war and were refugees in America -- they built the initial foundations of success for my life and future generations of my family. Frankly, there’s nowhere to go but up now. Sometimes, I imagine that one day Ivan and I will have a child and he or she will be able to continue our life’s journey through our values and stories; he or she will eventually become an independent human being that can make a positive contribution to society.

2. I’ll learn a lot more about myself.

I’ve always prided myself on being able to learn more and try new things, and I think that becoming a mother is no different. I honestly think becoming a mother could teach me more about patience, letting things go, and coping with emotional issues a lot better. After you become a mom, everything else (even the big decisions) become insignificant because you can handle anything.


My Verdict in 2017


Based on how I’m feeling at 28, I’m leaning more towards not having children. However, I am a little suspicious of the assumptions I’m making.  Perhaps I’m being too naive, but I think there’s a huge misconception that once you have children, you MUST lock yourself down and put your entire life on hold for 18 years until they head off to college. There has got to be some sort of work-around. If we can plan our whole life around a twelve month round the world trip, why can’t I learn to adapt to one little squirt?