This Career Does Not Spark Joy. Throw it Away? – How to Marie Kondo Your Career

Does Your Career Spark Joy?

Many of us have all watched the latest Netflix sensation “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” It’s time you streamlined your career, cleaned up your cubicle, and got joy out of the place you spend 8 hours or more out of your day. I sat down as I watched it, and wondered “How can I encourage people to “KonMari” their career?”

The overall philosophy is clear: Don’t let the excess overwhelm you, get rid of what doesn’t make you happy, find a place for everything and simplify whenever possible. If you’re anything like me, a million and one thoughts are running through your mind and you have no idea what any of that sentence actually means.

Let’s break it down in a few different ways. At the foundation of the KonMari method, you have visualize, consider, and decide – without question, you have to decide where these things fit into your career. Be intentional about it, and when that happens, it is meant to be life-changing.

Visualize

Start by visualizing what a day at your job looks like. Assign times to these tasks. Where is most of your time going? Are you responding to emails for hours? Are you stressed out because your first 2 hours are spent responding to emails? Is the structure of your day making the rest of your day hard to get through? The more detailed the visualization of your day is, the easier it will be for your next steps to occur.

Does it Spark Joy?

Your job is made up of a lot of small jobs, as are most jobs. What parts of your visualization make you happy? What sparks joy about them? How can you incorporate parts of those tasks into the others? For example, I get really stressed about building presentation decks, however, I love writing the copy for them.

In order for the building portion of it to spark joy for me, I write my copy first and then build the deck. This allows for me to build around my copy. If you feel alive, focused, expert, or satisfied during one part of the job, consider that as joy-sparking. If that’s at the end, focus on that as you work on the beginning. Push yourself to get to the joy enabling portion.

What Do You Need?

The very first episode of the show, Kondo asks her client When’s the last time you wore it?” in regards to her husband’s favorite old shirt. This is a prioritization reminder that you can use in your own career.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST! Many company cultures focus on finger pointing, blaming someone else, anyone else. You can’t change your boss, you can’t change your coworkers, but you can change you.

What do you need in your career to be successful? Marie Kondo focuses on your needs for a clutter-free life, you have to focus on your needs for a clutter-free career.

Declutter Your Workspace

I don’t mean a bare space. My desk is full of sticky notes, pens, quotes, and notebooks. Everything needs a space, everything needs a container. A physically clean desk space ensures that you are free of visual distractions, and makes things easier to find. A decluttered space is a focused space.

Be Grateful for the Lessons

Your careers HAVE to have meetings, colleagues, and jobs that don’t spark joy but you still have to endure. Marie Kondo said the goal of tidying is to learn “to cherish everything that you have.”

You have to train yourself to say thank you that you do have a job and that you have things in your job that you are grateful for. You learn about yourself through the joy-filled tasks and the ones that don’t fill joy.

Be grateful for the lessons under the mad supervisor, and the bad. You should be grateful for the times you felt anger, guilt, and think back to the lessons that they taught you.

Marie Kondo Your Career

Keep in mind, you have more control over your own career happiness than you think. You might come to appreciate certain parts of your job you previously dismissed as boring or useless. Taking a step back to wonder what makes you happy and what doesn’t is an exercise worth doing. Organizational skills should be used in your professional life. Take stock of your career and tidy it up as best as you can.

Can You Pass This Job Interview Quiz?

Can You Pass This Job Interview?

You have walked into the room for your dream. I have introduced myself to you. You give me a firm handshake. Your phone is on silent (not vibrate). You are dressed in business professional (not casual) attire, and you are well prepared. Now let’s get down to business. Will you pass this job interview quiz?

How Did You Do?

Can You Tell Me About Yourself?

Your interviewer is not asking about your personal life. They don’t want to know when you were born or about your siblings. You should never give anything away that talks about your age when you are interviewing, and your interviewer is not allowed to ask. They want to know about your professional skills, your background, a little about what you want to do in the future. They want the details about your future, not just that you’re looking for the “next big thing.”

Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

Have a plan! The worst thing that you could tell an interviewer is that you don’t have a plan or that you haven’t thought about it. Sit down today and decide on a 3 year a plan. A mentor told me last week that I don’t have to have a specific role in mind because roles are ever changing, but know what type of work and what type of skills I want to have developed at that time. Those are the things you want to discuss in your interview to be successful.

What is Your Greatest Professional Achievement?

Put numbers to the achievement! Did you increase sales? By how much? Did you increase efficiency on your team? By how much and how often? Leaders LOVE numbers, make them love you.

What’s Your Greatest Weakness?

Please avoid the generic “perfectionist” answer. Give a true answer, but also give the solution in regards to what you’re doing to fix it. If public speaking is your weakness, sign up for a public speaking coaching session with me.  In my most recent interview, my weakness was my lack of organization, but I have started using planners to get organized and have found that it works wonders. Make sure if you give a weakness, you ALWAYS give what you’re doing to remedy it.

What’s Your Dream Job?

When it comes to your dream job, don’t mention a specific company. Speak to your skills, speak to what you want to learn later. You want them to know you want to continue to grow.

If We Were to Contact Your Former Manager, How Would They Describe You?

Be honest, because they probably will call but also be detailed. Don’t give a one word answer, but it’s also time to boast on yourself!

Why Are You the Right Person for This Job?

You don’t need second chances? Are you sure? What happens when you mess you, you will mess up. That’s an arrogant response, and you should avoid arrogance at all costs. Be confident in your response, but not arrogant.

Did You Get The Job?

How’d you do? Did I hire you? What will you do better next time? Leave a comment and let’s discuss it!

Rory Gilmore – A Real World Shock for Millennials Everywhere

Did Rory Disappoint All of Us?

Many students believe that going to the best schools, and making the best grades means that upon graduation you will have that job you dreamed of, the spouse you wanted, and the life you sought after. When we left Rory in 2007, she was top of her class at Yale (even after taking a year off) and helping on former President Obama’s campaign trail. Rory was top of her class at Chilton Academy, and even had the extracurricular activities to back up her already stellar resume.

This is where the shock begins, when we meet Rory in Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life she is 32 and going from house to house (and even country to country). To say she doesn’t have a stable job would be putting it lightly. We are taught to believe that good grades and extracurricular activities will guarantee us a job. If Rory Gilmore can’t do it, and she is on the cusp of being a millennial and she did everything right… what does this mean for the rest of us? Can you FEEL the panic attack kicking in?

The writers leave us hanging on edge at the end… will her book be a success or is she a struggling writer AND a single mother? Yes, you read that right… THE Rory Gilmore, who had 3 amazing world wind romances is still single and pregnant. Well single is slightly an understatement considering she was dating Logan, the engaged millionaire.

Am I Rory? Are you Rory?

This 4-part series really made me think. As a Master’s Graduate, it makes me wonder what does it REALLY take to be successful post-graduation? Is it the grades? Is it the extra-curriculars? It it who you know? Rory Gilmore had all 3 of the above. Where can you slack? Where do you need to put in more time?

As my classmates walk across the stage a few years ago from undergraduate, a friend of mine looked at me and said “Everybody’s journey has been so different since 2011… but you know we made it here right? Isn’t that all that matters.”

Rory Gilmore is what we all WANTED to be. We just knew having the grades, the perfect guy, the perfect mom and the perfect friends would mean that our careers and futures would be set in stone. Nothing would have us deviate from the plans we mentally set in place. When A Year in The Life aired and Millennials geared up to watch with our smart phones and smart TVs and got a real world slap to the face…. how did they expect us to take it?! Fetal position and a bottle of moscoto?

Rory’s best friend made a statement to Rory that I think many millennials can benefit from “This adult stuff is hard you know?”

Do Things YOUR Way.

There’s no right or wrong way to do it. Everybody’s journey is going to be different, and we shouldn’t let unrealistic expectations be set. I’m not disappointed in some of the way that Rory’s life turned out because it shows that things don’t always turn out the way you expect once you graduate. Sometimes you won’t get the job, you won’t get the guy or girl, you will have to move back home, and you JUST might have everything fall apart before you can pick yourself up again.

Was post-graduate life what you expected it to be?

Career Development Guide – Freebie

Career Development Guide

How many times have you asked yourself “What do I ultimately want out of my career?” Sometimes it’s hard to think through every possible scenario that could become your life. People often say “It’s not about the money, it’s about what I love.”, but let’s be honest, you’d love it a lot more if the right pay came along with it. Am I right? That is why I have created a downloadable Career Development Guide.

 

I have developed this guide to walk you through developing your professional career in 5 easy steps.

1. Who are you? (Knowing yourself)
2. What skills do you already possess? (Where are you now?)
3. What do you want for your career? (Where do you want to go?)
4. How might you get there? (What steps do you need to take to get there?)
5. Who can help? (What resources might I use?)

 

Who are you? 

This section focuses on your interests. Your interests play a huge role in having a successful and beneficial career. It walks through your values and the primary things you would look for in your career journey.

Where are you now? 

We’re going to break down your starting point. In order to make it to any finish line, you have to know where you’re starting from. You will look into the things you do well, your experiences, as well as the things that you could improve on. (None of us are perfect, so don’t leave that blank!

Where do you want to go? 

Now, we’re still running this race, so you have to know where the turning lane is. You’ll think of your goals, you’ll think of your 1 and 5 year plan, and you’ll also consider the challenges.

How might I get there? 

This is the meat & potatoes of the development guide. What types of things must I learn? For example, if you want to be a business analyst, there are certain skills you will need. You will need to be able work in Excel. Okay, so how can I get better at Excel? You can commit to completing the Expert class in Excel on Udemy.com. I want you to think in real terms on what you can do to accomplish your goals.

Who can help? 

When it comes to who can help, think through family and friends. Once you think through them I want you to find a mentor. Check out one of my earlier blogs to learn more about mentors.

ACTION!

The development guide closes with you creating your own personal career plan based on steps 1-5, as well what you plan to do to make it happen. Be honest and transparent with yourself, or else you’re the only one you’re hurting.

You may get your copy of Corporate Melanin Millennial’s Career Development Guide by subscribing to our newsletter or clicking here.

 

You will get an automatic download, but it will also come to you via e-mail. (If you don’t receive it, please check your spam.)

Initiative is Everything – A Personal Narrative

If opportunity doesn’t knock, build the door yourself.

We all have been told to take initiative at some point in our lives. I have always been one to take things literally. I know what I want, and I know when and how to go after it. I’ve told this story to quite a few people in passing, but I’ve never just written it out. The way I got my first “big girl job” is a little different than most, but it is also the way I got my graduate assistantship. I’m going to start at my graduate assistantship, and work my way forward.

Graduate Assistantship

How often have you been told it’s not what you know, it’s who you know? Well, I’m living proof that you can use WHAT you know to get to who you WANT to know. In 2015, I was getting ready to graduate from THE Valdosta State University. I knew that I didn’t want to pay for grad school, I researched where I wanted to go, and how to get a free ride. In Janaury of 2015, I started researching marketing departments at various colleges I wanted to attend. Once I found those colleges, I looked up who was over graduate assistantships there. E-mails were sent to every single one of them. I told them my qualifications, my background, and why I deserved to be their graduate assistant.

I also took it one step further, I researched the head of every marketing department to see if they were looking for a graduate assistant. This was the first step, they would soon know my name. All of them said they weren’t sure, but would reach out later. (Which we all know rarely actually means anything.) I graduated May 10, 2015. On May 12th I got an email from the VP of Marketing at Armstrong State University requesting an interview as their GA had gotten sick, and they needed someone to start ASAP. I had already accepted my term at Armstrong for the Fall, and here they were asking me to come 3 months earlier PAID. My (now) husband and I took the trip to Savannah for my interview. They offered me the job on the spot, and asked if I could get enrolled that day.

My godmom opened her home to me for the Summer. I moved within 2 weeks down to Savannah to take a job + tuition that I had no plans to do. This is to show that initiative pays off when you least expect it sometimes.

Corporate America

If it works at least once, there’s a high probablity that it would happen again right? I knew the company I wanted to work for EARLY. The research was done, I knew people who worked there, and I knew I was skilled enough to do it. Around mid-2016 (before I graduated) I decided I was going to make my way into those walls. I searched “Company name college recruiter” on LinkedIn. After coming across her LinkedIn and sent her an InMail. (Check out my article on LinkedIn!) After about 2 weeks of not responding, I reached out to my sister in law, who previously worked there to find out how e-mail addresses at the company were set up. She told me the standard way, and I took my shot and sent an e-mail requesting an interview for an internship. In this email, I detailed my background, experience, and dedication. Within 24 hours, she responded to me stating that they don’t have internship opportunities for grad students, but they do have another program and she’d love to discuss it with me. We set up a conference call for the next day. She requested that I reach back out in 2 months when the application would go live. I reached out (thanks to a calendar reminder) on that day 2 months later. She set me up an interview, and the following Monday I had an offer.

Shoot Your Shot!

There is importance in taking initiative. Are you doing all you can for your career? When did you last reach out? Are you following up effectively? Being passive in your career search won’t help you in the long run. A leader is not one who sits around and waits, but goes after what they want!

 

When is the last time you took initiative? How did it pay off?

5 Books for the Career Driven Millennial

We may not be students anymore and required to read, but reading can help keep you motivated, teach you some new skills, or even just give you a different outlook on things. I am adamant about reading at least 1 book a month. Today’s goal is to share a few of those books with you.

How to be a Bawse: a Guide for Conquering Life – Lilly Singh

“A Bawse knows that if you want to be taken seriously, you need to show people who you are, and then keep showing them.”

This book is great for any millennial wanting to work their way to the top. She drops gems about navigating your boss and working through the drama. She wants you to succeed, and never settle.

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity – Kim Scott

The essence of leadership is not getting overwhelmed by circumstances.

If your goal is to be a relatable boss, to get to know your employees past the surface, then this is surely the book for you. I enjoyed every moment of this book, and I learned how to be a leader through not just title, but word as well.

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win – Jocko Willink

Instead of letting the situation dictate our decisions, we must dictate the situation.

This was actually a required read in my old department. It may be military based, but every concept applies to corporate America. The basis of the book is clear, it takes the employees to make a good team. Leadership relies on having a team built in strategy. At the end of every chapter, there’s an applicable to business section that makes the book even more relatable.

Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers – Lois P. Frankel

A personal brand is a promise of performance that creates expectations in its audience. Done well, it clearly communicates the values, personality, and abilities of the person behind it.

The do’s are just as important as the don’ts. This book as a great focus on how to navigate through a male-driven economy. Lois talks about 101 things women are engrained with as we grow up, and how you sabatoge those things. It is by doing that that we can get that corner office.

How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity.

Networking is key! This book is all about having the right people around you, and the importance of it. I have noticed that friendly personalities and optimism go a lot further than sulkiness and pessimism. I consistently recommend this book to anyone looking to further their career, because people are always the first step.

 

Let me know if you’ve read any of these books, and what books you would recommend for millennials in corporate America. I know many of these are aimed towards women, but if you have any other suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments!

XOXO,

Nikki

What Do Your Leaders Say About You When You’re Not in the Room?

“What do your leaders say about you when you’re not in the room?”

The board room door closes and chit chat amongst leaders begin as they wait for their meeting to start. “How’s Bob doing this month?” A senior manager asks. Your manager grins, “Bob is doing okay, he comes in late every now & then but he’s doing okay.”

That one statement can determine your next promotion. When you think people aren’t watching, someone probably is. My first year on the job, I was sitting in a meeting with high level executives, and an intern came in. This intern was brilliant to say the least however he spent his time in the meeting trying to connect to the internet in order to watch a soccer game.

The intern didn’t say much, but within that 2 hour meeting his manager had received four complaints about him. His brilliance was no longer the focus of attention because the negativity outweighed the positive.

Let’s think about this in another sense. When you go to hotels and they have comment cards for you to fill out, how often are you going to leave a comment: – when something good happens or when something bad happens? Likely you will leave a complaint over praise, if you are like most Americans.

Corporate America works the same way. That 3 day report you worked on finishing can easily be overshadowed by those 10 minutes you were scrolling through Facebook and a manager saw you.

Your strongest reputation comes from what people say about you when you’re not even in the room.

When I decided I was interested in a promotion, my mentor told me to make sure I told my current boss I was looking so that he could advocate for me. I was confused, why would I tell him I want to leave his team? Wouldn’t he try to stop me? My mentor explained that a good manager wants you to succeed. You succeeding means that they are succeeding.

After I made it through that conversation with my boss, he let me know that he was reaching out to the hiring manager to let them know how much he recommends me. Those little things matter especially considering he was probably going to get a call anyway.

What do you think your manager would say to another manager about you? Would they go on and on about your impeccable timing skills or details analytic reports or would they say that you miss the detailed tasks or small deadlines? Those small deadlines add up over time. 

There are 5 things I want you to think about when thinking of career progression.

  • Am I spending down time on my phone or am I asking for additional tasks?
  • Do I speak when I walk into a room?
  • How often have I completed my assignments on time WITHOUT having to be reminded of them?
  • When was I  reprimanded multiple times on the same topic?
  • Have I been caught off topic?

If most of these are negative, it may be time to rethink the image and persona that you are putting out into the world. 

Think through these and let me know how your answers turned out in the comments. Are you a pro in reputation management? Don’t forget to subscribe!

XOXO

Nikki

What Type of Career Seeker are You? – Quiz

There are multiple types of career changers. Take this quiz to find out what type you are, and keep reading for more detail. A career changer is someone who has an internal need for something in their workplace. See what type of career seeker you are.

The Meaning Seeker

You’re driven to do work that you care about, whether it’s on a small scale or a large one. Whatever you’re doing, it has to connect with your values and what you want to give back to your company, the community or the world.

You want to feel that you’ve made an impact, and that your work has done good in the world. This doesn’t mean that you have to work for a non-profit, though.

Your work could be anything from marketing and business to teaching and government or anything and everything in between – it just depends on what it means to you!

The Passion Seeker

Nothing is more important to you than being passionate about the work you’re doing. You want to enjoy the process of it, and be immersed in the day-to-day flow of your work.

Your connectedness and sense of well-being as a person comes from doing work that you’re passionate about because you’re an artist at heart.

No matter if your artist’s medium is paint or numbers, or whether you create with a computer or words or something entirely different, you are an artist because you come alive through your connection to the process of doing your work. Look for work that allows you to do what you love.

The Balance Seeker

You’d love to find a job you enjoy, but your job serves you – and supports the rest of your life and the activities that you care about – not the other way around.

Finding a job that fits with your life goals and that you can enjoy at the same time is the challenge for you.

The Goal Seeker

You are driven. When you set your mind to a goal, you do everything you can to reach it. You’re used to success and good at focusing on the steps you need to get there.

But when it comes to career change, you might feel a bit confused as your previous goals have already been accomplished or don’t seem to hold the same appeal anymore.

Now the question becomes: “What can you get fired up about?”

What type of seeker are you? Did you expect that? 

5 Career Questions Every Millennial Has Asked Themselves

If you’re anything like me, at some point before and even during the time you worked your first “big girl/boy job” you had a lot of questions. As a millennial, our job search is different than those before and even those after us. I’m here to clear some of those things up. What used to be $30K and prosperous, now takes at least $50K for a single person household. I’m here for your career questions every millennial has asked themselves.

Let’s discuss some of those questions and the answers here.

1. What if I don’t get a job in my degree field?

Honestly, that depends on your field but even so find a stepping stone and climb. I have a BFA in Public Relations and am now working in a very technical role. I have worked in finance, data analytics, & even change management. So while I may not be in my degree field, I have been granted opportunities to work in a various amount of disciplines. Keeping this in mind, you have to start somewhere.

2. What is a good starting salary?

Let’s be transparent for a moment. I interviewed quite a bit before I started my first job. I thought $30K a year was a decent starting point. Then I looked at how much bills cost. I aimed for significantly higher when accepting my first offer based on the average salary. What I recommend you doing is using Glassdoor.com or Salary.com and looking for the median income for the role you’re aiming for as well as the city you live in. Once you see that number go up by 5%-10%. This gives you negotiating room.

3. Negotiating? Wait? I have to do that?!

Absolutely! You deserve to be paid for your work and deserve to be paid fairly. Never accept the starting line offer. I will have another blog soon about that. I have quite a few negotiation templates you can use for any situation.

4. Should I apply for that job I’m not 100% qualified for?

Absolutely. If you’re missing a year or two of experience aim for it! As long as you know you can get in there and learn it. If you have a certification for it, do it.

My current role required 5-7 years of experience. I applied on a whim. The recruiter reached out and asked about years of experience. I told her about the training experience I had in corporate America and soon thereafter I received an offer. If you want something bad enough and it’s meant for you. It will be for you.

5. What should I be looking for in a career?

There are a wide variety of things that should be thought about when looking for a career. Salary is very important, but you need health insurance right? Ask about the deductible for your insurance. (You want a deductible that is no higher than what you could pay out in case of an emergency. If it’s just you look for $500-$900.)

You want to know what the atmosphere of the company is like. Is it family focused? Strict? Attire? What do work from home days look like?

Do they include supplemental insurance? Life insurance? 401K? Do they match your 401K, if so by what percentage?

This is part 1 of a 3 part series.

What questions do you have about your career? Let me know in the comment and they’ll be in the next series.

Let’s Talk LinkedIn – Quiz

Is your LinkedIn up to par? No matter how you scored there are a few tips we could all use to optimize the job search and optimize your LinkedIn. Did you know recruiters all have LinkedIn, and use it to scout you? They look at the number of references, the number of connections, and the skills that have been endorsed. Do you think you stand out against the rest of your peers? I have some tips for your success.

  • Does your summary truly showcase your skills?
    • Don’t just add skills, make sure you are actually good at them.
  • Is your headline captivating?
    • Are you a Business Analyst or are you a Data Driven Business Process Analyst?
  • Does you experience show up & show out?
    • Ensure that all of your past jobs are there and that the experience is able to be quantified.
  • Do you have recommendations from past professors? employers?
    • If not you’re missing out on a major way to get references in advance.
  • Are you optimizing your LinkedIn for searches?
    • Make sure that you have key words in your profile, so if a recruiter is looking for a certain type of employee you will pop up.
  • Are you engaged in groups?
    • RESPOND RESPOND RESPOND! Make sure that you are networking in groups and making those connections.
  • Are you using the job search feature?
    • Use the job search feature to tune into key words, key companies, and connect with the job poster! That’s what LinkedIn is for.

There are over 600 million members on Facebook. Do you stand out?

What did you score on the quiz? Why do you think you scored that? Let me know in the comments!