Is There Such Thing As A Perfect Job?

work culture & perfect job
work culture & perfect job

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It’s pretty much the biggest question I’ve asked my self: is there such thing as a perfect job? But I guess the answer is similar to “Is there such a thing as a perfect partner?” For me, a perfect job would be 3 blocks from my house, not stressful, a great work culture, have a great or easy schedule, pay me a sh*t-ton of money or at least a livable amount and have cool colleagues who are also my best friend.

Is that really achievable?

Possibly… maybe for the top 1% of people. It also depends on how much schooling you put in. I always thought that a $100k college price-tag only made sense for people who were going to make $250K and up, like doctors and elite lawyers. My sister is an MD and only works 32 hours a week and pretty much has it easy in that regard. I would hope that if you spent a hefty amount on college, you could at least get it back in a cushy job.

I spent much of my early 20s searching aimlessly for it. My first job after college was as a purchaser for this really sketchy beauty/perfume/wholesale goods distributor. I made $2000 a month, not much to work with but I got by. What I really wanted was experience and a way to figure out my true interest. As you might have guessed, it was NOT my perfect job.

It was a COMPLETE shit show of a job. Basically, just a rich middle eastern guy opening up his shop in NYC with no idea on how to run a business in America. There was no training, compensation was shit, and the job just didn’t make sense. AT ALL. At 22 years old I was supposed to call big brand companies and convince them to sell their products to us as a brick and mortar store (which we were not) then we would resell the products wholesale to other countries. At the times, I wasn’t sure if I was doing something illegal, after all we were lying to these companies saying we were selling in the US when we weren’t.

But I did learn a lot of lessons about work culture and what to expect in a job:

Some jobs are bullshit. Like, where no one knows what they’re doing or how they’ll accomplish company goals and employees are just scrapping along. This was that bullshit job.
Not all companies are well managed or care for their employees. I had absolutely no benefits or much time off. There was no goals or standards set. It was just,”do this,” “do that,” “get this done.”
Bad jobs are just so much better when you’re working with a friend. After a while the work culture just got too stressful and I brought in my friend to work with me. It was fun, even if the job wasn’t perfect.

I ended up getting my real estate license shortly after. I realized that the employment aspect of having to work for someone else, for example being told what to do and not having control over the ideas or the direction of the company, really got under my skin.

I ended up working as a junior real estate agent after that.

But this job ended up having another set of problems. I was essentially an entrepreneur as a real estate salesperson but I had no idea how to get clients or close them or even how to manage my day since it was unstructured. Because I was unexperienced, I had to take an apprenticeship as a junior agent under a more experienced agent. This was a great stepping stone but I basically worked for free for a few months. The commission structure was predatory and I was making a slice out of a slice of someone’s pie.

Here I learned:

-When it comes to money, people are sharks, they are relentless, they will throw you under the bus, and do whatever it takes to save a few dollars. It amazed me that these clients who made a six figure income and more could be so stingy with their time and money. I could literally lose a deal (my little commission) over a $100 misunderstanding.
-That finding a mentor is hard. As a junior agent, my mentor was only concerned about making money for himself, not necessarily about helping me grow professionally.
-That being self employed makes you a slave to the clients who can demand you provide your services to them at odd hours, reduce your rate and determine your schedule. I was showing apartments in the evening after their work hours and on weekends. I had to move my schedule around constantly. Clients would try to pit agents against each other over fee costs. Long-term it kind of sucked.

After that I became pregnant and needed to take some time off. That’s a whole different story, but after giving birth I had to quickly get back to work in order to avoid financial ruin.

This next job was a godsend. It was near perfect. It paid well (more than it should). It was a luxury experience, the office was beautiful and had water, candies, snacks and coffee for us. My colleagues were great and promoted a positive work culture. I was just the receptionist but the job was easy, pleasant and without major responsibilities. My favorite job ever! And my colleagues were awesome, we really were able to work well together and build a long term friendship. Life was good. But this was a contract position so it was a project that had an end date.

Here I learned:

That good jobs where you are happy and not being preyed on exist.
That the job landscape can change. When the contract ended, I was out of a job and had to figure out “what’s next.” And to be honest, I never found such a high paying job with low stress again after that. It was a unicorn.

After, I decided to be a real estate agent again. But on my own, without a mentor and without being someone’s junior agent. I ended up joining a brokerage I liked and starting my business. I was successful at the end of 2 years with referral business and finally knowing how to be my own boss.

But then my husband lost his job and another more stable employment opportunity came up.

But in those 2 years working for myself and building a business, I learned:

-Working for yourself is awesome if you’re successful but it still has its financial challenges. Money would be tight one month and flow the next. It was so inconsistent and hard to budget. There were no benefits like PTO or even insurance. I was 100% on my own for those things. Clients were still shitty at times and there was no recourse for when I was treated badly.
-Your job doesn’t always flow with your life. In the end, I had to walk away from opportunities because after my husband lost his job I needed to take something more stable with benefits. Because of life changes I had to cut my potential. Who knows, I might have been the next millionaire broker, but I never got the chance.

Finally, I settled to where I am now, a corporate company. 10 years in the professional workforce, I’ve kind of come to the conclusion that the perfect job doesn’t exist, not for me and probably not for anyone. Right now, I’ve been going through some problems of not liking my coworkers, toxic corporate culture, dealing with an unfair sales environment (most of them are), and a terrible long commute.

And yet, 10 years ago this would have been my dream job. I’m paid a livable wage, an array of benefits at low cost, a job that’s somewhat “luxury” with the kind of clientele I service and steady hours. And yet I’m still not 100% happy.

Now I’ve learned to work with what you’ve got but, at the same time, aspire for something more. The truth is if I settled on my job and that bad work culture, I would have been stuck at that sketchy office as a purchaser.

So I take it for what it is. I’m finally somewhere I can stay for a while, and though it’s not the perfect job, it’s the perfect job for right now.

Check out my other posts!

How to Job Hop Successfully

Why Corporate America Is A Necessary Evil

How To Interview Well: Tips & Tricks For The Perfect Interview

Killer Resume or Interview That Wows? Which Is Better?

Resume or Interview
Resume or Interview

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I recently decided to respond to a few recruiters about some work opportunities. I hate job hunting but they have a saying, “the best time to look for a job is when you already have one.” Surprisingly, I’ve almost always gotten offers or serious interest and it had me wondering about the reason for my success. I mean, some people look for work for months and aren’t able to get a single bite. I’m out here getting interest from recruiters left and right! Without even looking! So which is more important, the resume or the interview? What is the most contributing factor that’s helping me get noticed and picked up by employers?

The Resume
It has taken me years to build a good resume. What makes a good resume? One that shows that all your experience for the past 5+ years is related and not broken up or mismatched. You can see the professional growth on the resume. I’ve literally taken jobs that were a step back in money and title because the company hiring had such an amazing reputation in the industry and I knew it would look good on my resume.

I’ve always opted for a resume that was simple, clean and ONLY one page. If someone has to flip the page to see the rest of your experience, then it’s too long. CVs tend to be longer but, honestly, does anyone use a CV anymore? Generally, recruiters spend less than 10 seconds scanning a resume, so making it longer than one page seems ridiculous.

The role of the resume is to get your foot in the door so you can get to the next step, so having a solid resume can open a ton of work opportunities.

I think the key for me was to only take work that was related to my field, look ahead at what other more successful people in my industry did (Thanks LinkedIn!), and try to copy that. As a result, my resume became more niche, to the point where I don’t really need to look for work, the work finds me.

Check out my other post on how to structure a Resume.
The Interview

Interviewing also took me years to get good at and, to be honest, it hasn’t been something I’ve really perfected yet. I always got the feeling that US employers generally worship the “extrovert” and that specific type of personality that can get people up off their feet and excited.

Since I’m more of an introvert, most of my interviews have been good at best but not exceptional.

At the very least, I’m no longer the nervous nelly I once was during interviews. I think that has more to do with my experience level. Once you reach a certain level of experience, you sort of lose that uncertainty and voice in your head that asks, “Am I really qualified for this position?”

Things that I’ve definitely improved on are:

    Confidence

This has been key to capitalizing on work opportunities. I’ve noticed that I’ve no longer looked at the job I was interviewing for as something that I “needed” to validate me or take me to the next level. Now I’m able to come to the interview table and really ask hard questions like, “WHY is this position available now?” Or “What’s the company culture like?” I can take a stance where it’s almost like the company has to woo me in order to get me to move. No more groveling for the job with multiple thank you emails, no more hoping and praying for the job, none of that sh*t.

    Answering BS Questions

We all know what BS questions the interviewer usually asks. “If you were any animal what would you be and why?” “Tell me about a time you were challenged at work.” “Tell me about a time you made a mistake at work.” Those are the types of questions that come at the most random time and, at which point, you have to parrot an answer that the interviewer can agree with. Becoming skilled at these can be challenging. Especially if you’re nervous and not great at thinking on your feet.

For me, I just try to say what the person wants to hear while also tying it to why I should have the job. And ALWAYs spin it positively.

    Not Caring About The Outcome

Like I mentioned, “the best time to look for a job is when you already have one.” Having a job already and not moving without another one lined up has helped me TREMENDOUSLY. It helps me to not care and just carry on with the interview like I’m the prize. It’s allowed me to be picky about what work opportunities I’m willing to take.

I’ve seen people quit their jobs out of anger and then regret it because it’s only a matter of time before you run through your savings and then absolutely NEED a job, any job at any rate.
Side note: no matter how good you feel your interview went, NEVER quit your job until you’ve accepted their offer.

Overall having solid interview skills are important if you actually want to LAND the job.

So which is more important, resume or interview?
If I had to put my finger on it, I would say I think solid resumes are the most important to the job search. At the end of the day, the quality of your resume, your experience and the aesthetics of your resume are 100% in your control, an interview is not.

Resumes are also the way to get your foot in the door. Before the interview, there’s a recruiter picking out applicants from a pile of resumes. Only the most stellar resumes are able to proceed to the interview phase.

Not to say that interviews can’t be important, you can walk in with a semi-good resume and just blow the hiring manager out of the water by having an awesome personality and great interview skills.

Still, I find the the interview process to be pretty chaotic and arbitrary. Sometimes, companies aren’t even looking to hire but use the interview process to shop their competitors and get their employees to give off confidential information in the hopes of getting a job. Sometimes, you just can’t vibe with the interviewer. Interviewers can be rude, standoffish or downright inappropriate.

So even though you can’t always master every single interview, the right resume can almost always open the door to work opportunities that are the right fit.

Check Out My Other Posts
How To Be Successful & Be Happy

Work Smarter, Not Harder

How To Interview Well: Tips & Tricks For The Perfect Interview

How To Get Ahead At Work Without Brown Nosing

Brown-nosing. My personal definition is that brown-nosing is when someone sticks their nose up someone’s figurative ass. They get right up cozy into the crack and take a good big wiff of whatever’s up there just so they can get close to the decision maker in their company and benefit from it. Flattery, compliments, baby-talk, gifts and other inappropriate behavior is how the brownnoser get’s their nose as far up that crack as they can go.

I personally find brown-nosing to be the most disgusting, underhanded, and pathetic thing to do at work. And yet so many people are just so willing to throw their self respect in the garbage and brown-nose their way into a big paycheck.

Why?

Because it works. Bosses have egos and for some reason they like when people brown-nose. It makes them feel important in their position. After all, why would someone take a job with more responsibility and stress if they weren’t getting some status and money in return?

But despite how effective and despicable brown-nosing is, there are some of us that hold onto our dignity and just can’t get ourselves to stick our noses up our boss’s ass to get ahead.

Thankfully, you don’t have to sell your soul to get promoted.

Here Are My Top Ways Of Getting Noticed At Work Without Having To Kiss Up To Your Boss.

Be Reliable, Be On Time

This works wonders. Just being on time and being reliable can say a lot about your character. People who are consistently late are generally perceived as lazy, unreliable, selfish and irresponsible. Even if you’re late once, you can leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth depending on how important it was that you be on time. Some people say that they can’t control traffic, their kids ability to get out of the house on time or that there was a random emergency that came up. 99% of those excuses are bullsh*t. Planning ahead can easily help you with your tardiness issue. You need to anticipate where you need to be and all the obstacles that can get in your way and aim to be early. By being timely, you’re saying to the world that I respect your time, I’m reliable and I’ll do what I say I will do.

And what kind of boss wouldn’t want an employee like that. When it comes down to it, if you’ve proven that you’re reliable, your boss will see that and give you more opportunities over the unreliable employees.

Speak Your Mind, Share Your Ideas

I used to be so afraid to share my ideas at work. Mainly because my ideas would question the status quo or a direction the company was taking. I was afraid of rocking the boat. I don’t mean “question” like in an adversarial way, but I tend to offer a different alternative. I think that speaking your mind and offering your perspective can be incredibly empowering and help you stand out.

And occasionally I’m able to offer a view that’s highly valued. There have been times when I pointed out a flaw in a program that we started using or a scheduling conflict or paperwork that needed to be completed. Catching these problems early and being able to point them out efficiently has help me seem like I know what I’m doing at my job, that I’m not sloppy, and that I care about the quality of my work.

Be A Team Player

I’ve actually been guilty of not being a team player 100% of the time but this is definitely something you want to do if you want to get noticed. Being a team player means sometimes letting the other person get work that you wanted to do, stepping outside of your role and training others and taking the advice of others around you.

Being a team player is actually really hard because, often, your company is asking you to take part in something that you don’t necessarily agree with, whether it’s the direction of the company with a new hire, or merging departments.

But being able to step up to the plate during those difficult times and have a positive attitude can absolutely make you stand out to upper management.

Ask For More Responsibility

Asking for more responsibility is not necessarily brown-nosing. It really depends on how you approach it. Are you saying that you want to do more work than other people and that you’re better at your job than other people? That would be brown-nosing. But if you really have some extra room on your plate to do some work then go ahead and ask for it. The worst thing to do is to skate by with as little work as possible while everyone else is drowning

A good boss will definitely appreciate initiative and may even take this as a sign that you’re ready for the next step, like a change in role, a promotion or a shift in responsibilities.

So asking for additional responsibility it’s definitely not brown-nosing as long as you do it in a tactful way, without throwing others under the bus and are honest about your intentions for why you want to take on the extra work.

At the end of the day, let your work speak for itself. You don’t need to kiss up to someone, give unnecessary gifts, flatter or any of that stuff to get ahead. People who do that are just really insecure about what they have to offer and then want to play the “like me card.”

And as a caveat, if you’re not getting ahead after putting in good work, loyalty and years on the job then it’s probably a good time to consider other options and opportunities. Not all employers will see good employees and reward them but that’s on them and usually results in a higher turnover.

So just be yourself. Work hard and be friendly. Brown nosing it is never the way to go if you want to keep your dignity.

Check Out My Other Career Posts

What To Do When You Dislike Your Job

How To Interview Well: Tips & Tricks For The Perfect Interview

Dealing with Toxic Work Culture

How to Job Hop Successfully

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What To Do When You Dislike Your Job

 

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I’m going back to work in less than a month, my maternity leave is over and I really wish it wasn’t ending. Though it would be nice to earn real money again, short term disability and paid family leave is really nothing in terms of compensation.

During my time of just being at home with family, I realized why I’m always so on edge and why I’ve been so unhappy with my career. I finally have the job that I’ve been looking for for so long, but it’s the people that make it miserable.

You see, I thought I would be happy doing challenging work with competitive pay but I was wrong.

There’s not a single one of my bosses that I’ve liked. You can follow all my blog posts and see just how miserable this job has made me. Yet I stay because of the benefits; because I have to put food on the table.

  • I’m Beginning To Realize It’s Just Me.

I’m not a team player and organizations don’t like that. They want someone who’s going to do what they’re told, follow the pack, play fair and be nice, all while being trampled on. And I don’t know how to be a team player in that kind of environment.

Ever noticed whenever you question something at work or you you realize that you’re taking on more work than you should, they always throw out “be a team player?” Like that propaganda is going to make me forget that I am being used beyond my compensation. If I already know that I have no chance of being promoted mainly due to the culture of the company, why would I do more and why would I want to be a team player on a team that doesn’t recognize hard work and excellence?

The truth is I work better on my own. I like to solve my own problems, have my own system and have autonomy over the quality of my work. With team environments, generally, jobs want a systematic approach that’s not necessarily most efficient, consistency across the board and groupthink where everyone has the same opinion. And that’s just not me and that’s not going to change, I’ve tried.

So here I am, a black sheep in a white flock, trying to stay inconspicuous.

I Haven’t Met A Manager I Respect

I honestly have rarely met a manager I can respect. Just because you’re above me in rank or in compensation doesn’t mean you own me; the corporate world kind of forgets that.

The only manager that I have ever been able to respect was one that looked out for their employees, mentored them and wanted to see them succeed. Plenty of managers will pay lip service to that kind of idea but actions always speak louder than words with me. And someone who doesn’t walk the walk is less than a manager in my eyes.

So right now my manager is someone who complains a lot, wants to get things his way, a brown noser and someone who pretends to be nice but really isn’t. I’ve worked with him for about a year and a half now so I have low hopes that things will get better. I just can’t get myself to respect him.

So what do I do? When I’m working at a job that has no growth with a manager I don’t respect?

My goal for when I come back to work is to just keep my head down and take it day by day.

I’m not going to pretend like I love my job or that I respect my manager or that I’m even friends with my coworkers, because I’m not. What I can do is control my attitude and realize that I’m at this job for a reason. I can quit any day I want. But I don’t. And that’s because I still need to keep this job for whatever reason whether it’s benefits or pay.

A lot of career advice will tell you to just talk it out with your boss or change directions at work or put everything in emails, but sometimes that advice is just full of shit.

I’m giving real world advice here and that is: work’s not fair and work’s not always right. You have to keep a long-term goal in mind even when you’re doing something you hate because you’re not going to be at that job forever. And I want to say that there’s nothing wrong with you just because you can’t fit into corporate culture; it’s really not for everyone. It’s not for me either but you need to use it as an opportunity even if it’s only a short-lived one.

Worst than being at a job that you dislike is being the person who’s constantly jobhunting for the perfect job, which I don’t believe exists unless you’re your own boss and can control your work environment.

So my main point is to make an exit plan, find out what you love and find a way to monetize that. Then make a deadline on how you’re going to make that your full-time job and do it. Your day job can just be a steppingstone, something that can get you to the next place in life.

Maybe I’m not corporate made, it’s not who I am but somehow I’m going to find a way to make my job work for me and help me grow into a career that I can be proud of and love.

It’s OK if you’re failing at work or just getting by, as long as you treat it like an opportunity and a stepping stone to help get you the kind of work you love.

I Hate My Commute

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I’ve written a few posts on how difficult my job was but I’ve been thinking that my commute definitely plays a role in how I feel about work.

I commute 1.5hours-2hours each way to get to my job. It’s pretty horrible. Every morning I walk 2 long blocks to wait near a bus stop. If I get there and there are already 5+ people, I know the bus is full and it’s STANDING ROOM ONLY. I commute on those coach buses turned conmuter bus so it’s not that bad, you can recline the chair, get some air from the air control thing on top, but it’s always so full. Everyone on the bus is packed in their seats with their multiple work bags and you often have to shimmy through the thin aisle, craning your neck to look for seats while careful not to step on any toes.

It’s not even a far drive, without traffic it’s literally a 20 minute drive but it’s the traffic. Literally “I can run faster than this” kind of traffic that spreads for miles before the Lincoln Tunnel. Once I get off at the Port Authority I have to dredge through the subway. And don’t even get me started on how bad the subway smells. Often times I’m not getting a seat there either. Or I’m sitting across to the homeless guy spread out on the seat. Then I have to walk another 5 blocks to get to my office. They say the average commute time is 24.5 minutes in the United States. I am commuting about 3x-4x that. It’s crazy.  And the commute stress is a lot.

Now I wish I had some sort of list on how to make your commute shorter, make your commute easier or more bearable but I don’t really have much advice outside of getting a crossword puzzle, listening to a podcast or taking a nap. It’s one of those things you can’t change unless your willing to also change your job, your pay, and maybe even your outlook on life.

I think of my husband, who also has a long commute to work. He drives an hour+ each way to get there. The congestion on the way home is ridiculous it sometimes takes 2 hours. And he’s driving the whole time. I’ve ordered him some lumbar support because his back was hurting from driving so long. Apparently back pain from driving too long isn’t uncommon. Sitting for prolonged periods is one of the main causes of chronic back pain. Unfortunately for my husband, there’s no way out of his long commute unless we move.

My mom used to do a killer commute, thankfully shes retired. She’d drive 5 minutes to her bus stop, ride the bus for 30-40mins then take the subway an hour from the first to the last stop. Sometimes she’d be shoulder to shoulder with people the whole time. She always used to tell me that her commute was the hardest part of her job. I remember in the last years of her working, she had these frown lines on her forehead. She used to try Botox to get rid of them and it would never last more than 3-5 months. One month after she retired, the frown lines were gone. I guess working and commuting can do that to you- make you look old and give you wrinkles. I think I’m already there myself.I always wondered why my mom was so tired after work.

I honestly don’t know why do people need to commute, why can’t people just live closer to their jobs? Oh yeah, because living in metropolitan areas is expensive and most working class people can’t afford that.

Maybe that’s just part of being an adult. Working a job that pays the bills and doing a commute that makes you want to pull your hair out. Or maybe it’s my attitude that’s what really needs to change. On one hand, I can be more positive about my place in life right now. Not everyone has a job or even a job that covers all their expenses. My commute is hard and demanding, and so is my job. I’m hoping I can survive a few more years until I find something to replace it. Not everything can be perfect and right now I’m coming to terms with that fact. Still, I need to practice gratitude. 10 years ago while I was still struggling in college I would have died for a job like this. And now that I’m here, it seems less like what I want. People aren’t made to spend 15 hours a week commuting. Thats 780 hours a year or 32 days!

But perseverance is everything. For those of you reading with crazy commutes and difficult jobs, hang in there. Despite everything, your goals are worth more than the satisfaction of quitting.

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Check out my other posts!

My Job is Killing Me….

Dealing with Toxic Work Culture

Thinking About Working For Yourself? Consider These Strengths & Pitfalls!

I Survived A Toxic Manager