Stair Stepper Jobs

How important are those “stair stepper” jobs? These are the types of jobs that definitely are not your ideal career opportunists, but simply the fillers between school and your big dream. They are the summer internships, holiday helping hands, varying 4 hour shift jobs where the boss never seams to remember your schedule and constantly puts you at the wrong time causing you to scurry and get someone to trade shifts with because you have school and though you have handed your boss a color coded hourly availability document still… no change. (Can you tell I am still just a little salty towards those type of bosses?)

I spent an enormous amount of my time working in the child care industry. I never wanted to be a teacher and although I love children, it so was not a passion of mine to have a career involving any type of child care. My childhood best friend wanted to be a teacher and I used to tell her all the time that teachers have a very special calling on their lives but that simply was not mine. However, as crazy as it seams, we make some of the easiest jobs to get with child care so I found myself summer after summer convincing myself that I would enjoy it. Every summer I found myself begging for it to be over.

I then found myself stuck in a place where all my work experience was in the one area that I wanted to stay away from the most. At 19 Years old I decided to blaze my own trail. It was hard to get a job where I could make money to be on my own because I had absolutely no experience. I wanted it so badly but it simple wasn’t going to happen. I decided to take a job at the YMCA and man the front desk. That was my break through job. Sure it was easy and I didn’t do a lot of office work but when I put it on my resume, suddenly other better paying positions were interested in me because I had experience (If you call eating Cheetos at the desk while everyone else worked out “experience” then I’ll take it).

Your first jobs matter. The work you do matters, your work ethic matters, and your promotions matter. Even if you are just making copies and filing. All of it matters. Every time I applied for a job I always tried to apply for a position that was 20% above where I was currently at. That didn’t always mean more pay. Sometimes it meant more responsibilities for a more diverse resume or more of a professional environment so that I never stayed in the same level. At 19 years old I would never have applied for the position I have now but I kept pushing myself harder and harder which gave me confidence. Simply put, I wouldn’t be where I am without the YMCA. It gave me the tools, the confidence, and the spot on my resume that I needed to push me forward.

Last week I ran up the TCU stadium stairs for a work out and man did it suck! But sometimes our careers can feel like those stadium steps. You look forward to where you want to be, and it seams so far away and looks painful to get to. Sometimes your mind will trick you and tell you that you don’t need to do the steps in order to get a good work out, that there must be another way, a short cut. As you look around you realize that there is no short cut, no elevator, no conveyor belt, just the stairs. You have all of these thoughts running through your head “how long is this going to take, how much pain will I be in tomorrow, is it worth it, and can I even make to the top?” I’m not saying everything will be dandy. You’ll sweat, cramp, get winded, maybe even take a breather, but you’ll get there.

Education does help. However, I know people with masters in their field of study but because they simply have no other experience besides their studies, companies won’t hire them. In many cases, when they found a job, they were hired on with the bachelor degree level employees which is still great, but they could have been even hire if they had a few jobs on their resumes.

Stair stepper jobs are getting you to your goal, no matter where you are in your career, they matter, so make them count.

 

 

Photography By Naomi Ledford Photography

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Big Reputation, Oh You And Me Would Be A Big Conversation

Today I watched a speech Taylor Swift gave in her Reputation Tour and it really made me think deeply. Her Punch line was, “You shouldn’t care so much if you feel misunderstood by a lot of people who don’t know you, as long as you feel understood by the people who do know you.”

Growing up I was taught that my reputation should be one of the single most important things that I held with caution. It can take a life time to build a reputation but just one moment to ruin it. I never took that to heart. “No Shame” was my motto (and still is). Maybe I should have cared a little more but you know, win some, lose some.

I went to an incredibly strict college where we had a curfew. Yes, I said curfew. They explained that because it was a bible school they wanted to make sure their students weren’t out late doing things ministry majors shouldn’t be doing and giving the school a bad name. I can, in a way (a very small way), see where they were coming from, but on the flip side, it naturally cultivate the students’ to assume anyone who was out past curfew was up to no good. Sounds ridiculous right? Because it totally is! For all you know that person could just be coming home from a trip, or any other reason besides the fact that they were doing something bad. Gossip festered in that school like rotting mold. The school was so worried about their reputation that once at a basketball game when I was all pumped up, the president of the school saw me and gave me a fine for dancing. A FINE FOR DANCING (yes it was just like Footloose). It blew my mind. Of course I refused it and politely told the Dean of Students that no way in Saint Mother Mary’s name was I going to pay that. Sure he didn’t take it so well but I didn’t have to pay so *wipes sweat off forehead*. Believe it or not, that incident blew through the school like wild fire and I was forever marked as the “wild child” #Represent.

The school worried about what I wore, my social media accounts, who I hung out with, and more. I had all of these legalistic rules that I had to follow. Of course here I was like “screw it, I’m wearing my holey jeans to chapel whatever”. That’s probably why they kept such a close eye on me #ProudRebel. I struggled because I felt like everyone thought I was a bad kid. There I was Branded like I was wearing a big “A” on my chest.

My point to show you is sometimes our rules that we put on ourselves that are meant to protect us can end up making us frustrated. This is especially hard, I feel like, for women in the work place, “be approachable, nice, never give someone any reason to think you are crazy, be careful of what you wear, how you speak, and who you are around.” It becomes absolutely ridiculous! We get so concerned about everything that suddenly nothing feels right. Shame follows us around waiting for us to fail and then it latches on.

Here is a fact: Anything you do can become a failure if you are seeing it through a critical eye. With people you can’t win. Not everyone is going to like you, and that is completely out of your control. Someone will think you are rude, questionable, or frustrating. You will rub people the wrong way and be misunderstood. Heck, I used to shout along with the cheerleaders’ in the crowd at basketball games and they thought I was making fun of them. It’s called spirit and I have it yes I do, I’ve got spirit how bout you?!

There is freedom in knowing that you are going to be misread or that you’ll mess up. You don’t have to wonder if someone, at some point in your life is going to dislike you, because they will.

 

What do you do then when there is someone out there trying to ruin your name for literally no good reason? (This could be an ex-coworker or anyone that is trying to throw shade your way). I think Taylor Swift said it best, “You shouldn’t care so much if you feel misunderstood by a lot of people who don’t know you, as long as you feel understood by the people who do know you.” Thanks T Swizzle for always keeping it real.

 

Brunchin For 3 Years Now

Yesterday was my 23rd birthday and today is my blog’s 3rd birthday! What a wild and crazy ride this has been. Three years ago I launched this website that I really had no idea what I was doing with and I just thought it would be a fun creative outlet for me. It has been cool to look back and see not only the growth in my writing and communicating skills, but who I was 3 years ago.

This day 3 years ago I launched my very first blog which received 1.3k views in 24 hours. I was blown away by the response and the love that I was receiving from all my friends and family. I was proud of what I had created. I have always been a social media addict but creating a website is a whole different beast. I taught myself everything I know today from the ground up.

I didn’t know much but I did know these two things:

  1. I love words. I love writing more than I love singing and I LOVE singing! Since I was little I had some type of journal or I would write short stories on the computer (mainly about stupid drama and boys. Those entries were awesome). Poetry is my jam and I am a sucker for a really good play on words, hence the reason why I am so obsessed with the line from the song, Whatever It Takes by Imagine Dragons, “I’m an apostrophe, I’m just a symbol to remind you that there’s more to see.” Like come on that is ingenious! I can write songs all day long and I truly only enjoy singing lyrics that are unique instead of the typical “Throw your hands in the air”. I knew I could write and that I wouldn’t ever get tired of it.
  2. I love a challenge. I don’t like when someone tells me I can’t or that I am not allowed to do something. I am a, play with the big dogs, kind of girl. But, I am not going to lie, creating a website was so far out of my comfort zone that I was pretty scared. I don’t love technology and I didn’t even know how to really use my computer so that was a huge road block. I gave myself four months to learn, and create. I can say now that I am pretty proud of myself.

This day three years ago I had just moved to Knoxville, Tennessee from Los Angeles, California. What a change. This blog was the only thing that kept me holding on to myself. The move was tough, but you know when famous people say “I do this because of my fans”? I totally understood them for once in my life. Not that I was famous or even that I had any fans, but the fact that I could communicate and try to inspire others was that thing that kept me sane in that time.

This day three years ago I was, as my aunt would say, “a party looking for a place to happen”. So fun, but also all over the place. like I said, I didn’t really have any direction with this blog. I was studying The Blonde Salad’s path to success and she was my main inspiration. If you don’t know who that is, she is ultimate goals! Now I have more of a grip on who I am, I am committed to the growth process, and I am a party that found my place to happen!

The three biggest things I have learned over the past three years are:

  1. It is hard to be vulnerable, but people don’t want to read fake news. I have shared many things over the course of this blog, my failed engagement, my depression, my struggles as a young working woman, the rough times, and the good times. It is hard to try and convey to people that you are more that a white screen with words on it. Your life is suddenly subject to criticism from all angles. It’s hard to try to convey to people that you are not a two dimensional character in a comic book waiting for a super power or a hero to save the day. I am a real person. That is the biggest struggle when you open your life to everyone on the internet, but it’s a burden I’m willing to carry.
  2. Keeping up with the Kardashians is absolutely impossible. I am obsessed with the Kardashians and their ability to make a business out of their everyday lives (which is just like blogging), truly inspiring and #Goals. But, what do we do when we want to live a total rock star life style without a rock star salary? It’s hard to be a blogger sometimes when you follow big time bloggers and they are constantly getting make up packages from Dior and perfume bottles shaped like a total flawless body. Not comparing your own blog to others is difficult, but you will never feel like a success or proud of what you do if you constantly compare. When I was 18 and going off to be a music major my vocal coach said something to me that totally wrecked my world, “There will always be someone better than you.” it stung my pride but I soon found out that it was true. When you stop comparing yourself to others, it allows your personal growth to flourish and that is all that matters because in the end, there will always be someone better than you and that’s something you can’t help, but you can help yourself.
  3. Do what you want to do, end of story. I see so many bloggers that run the promotion type of posts which means they try to get sponsors and they promote their products. I tried to do this and I just never really could get behind a product enough and it just simply is not me. I am not a sales person. I wish I was because then I could get some cool products, but I’m not. I was afraid people wouldn’t read about a young girl coming up into corporate America and what that looks like, but at the end of the day you have to be proud of your blog and your passion will show through. It is contagious.

I have absolutely loved being able to communicate with everyone that follows and reads my blog. Thank you for the continuous support and all of the encouragement. I am excited to see what the future holds for MoreThanBrunch and what we can accomplish!