How to Enjoy Work


Photo from Unsplash by Lauren Mancke

I think it's important to find work that you enjoy, even if it doesn't pay as much as you like. Obviously it's important to earn enough to live independently and have enough, but studies have shown that there's a certain income that once you exceed it, your emotional happiness doesn't get any better.

Personally I've found that you need to enjoy work and like who you're working for. I've had jobs where I disliked my supervisor. I disagreed with how they treated and managed their employees, and not just me. I also disagreed ethically with them and felt that while not breaking the rules, they were bending them.

As a result, I disliked them and working with them. It made it hard to go to work each day and a relief to go home each night. I was living for the weekend or the time when I could quit.

The Wall Street Journal wrote an article about how Americans don't value flextime at work enough. I read it and completely agreed with it. The jobs I've loved have been the ones where I've felt valued, had a good company culture, had respect, and where I've been able to work from home or switch my hours around to accomplish the same amount of work, just in different hours.

My skills can be done from anywhere with a computer and internet so it can be frustrating when forced to work from an office within office hours all the time. When I had the flu and no sick-time, I wanted to work from home, but it was work at the office or don't work at all. So I worked from the office.

Flex-time and an enjoyable work environment are more important to me than a higher salary. I'd thought up until recently that it's okay to hate your job, it's a job. You just need to do it and do it well and you can do what you want after work and on the weekends. But that's not a great way to live. It makes you dread work, which is a large chunk of your life.

And it's important to have some passion for what you're doing. I haven't found my passion I don't think-unless it's blogging or hiking. I've worked in some pretty boring industries but loved it because I loved what I was doing and who I was working with. So while passion can make a difference, it hasn't yet for me. I haven't had a job I was passionate about, hopefully I'll find one at some point, but for now, I'm going for happy and content.

So as I look for jobs in the future, I'm going to look for ones with a good environment and with flexible work hours. Hopefully I'll be able to find something that is enjoyable and fits those criteria.

Do you have any advice for to finding a good place to work?

Personal Business Cards

While chatting with a fellow alum the other day, he recommended that I create business cards for networking. In college I created business cards for a class using InDesign, but I no longer have access to InDesign. So I looked around online for a website to create business cards. I settled on Vistaprint for my needs. I wanted something professional and simple. While I may end up working somewhere creative, somewhere where the business cards aren't as traditional, I decided to keep the business cards simple and classic, just black and white, because I could end up somewhere white-collar and I'd rather market myself to that.

For business cards at Vistaprint, you can choose between three weights: Standard, Signature, and Ultra Thick. The Standard were too thin for me, and the Ultra Thick were too thick, so I chose Signature. I have my business cards now and I love their weight.

I chose to browse their designs and picked this one. I did modify it though to fit my needs. I moved some of the words around and didn't include my address because the purpose of the business card is to network. I included my name, email, phone number, website, degree, experience, and what kind of position I am seeking.

I chose the linen cards, and they're great. I don't have any graphics or logos, so if you're creating business cards with any of that, you might want to choose something else, but for just text, the linen is nice.

I can't wait to start handing out my business cards! Now I'm just looking for a case for them. I'm probably going to get this one from Amazon, but I really like this one from Mark and Graham.

What do you think of having personal business cards?

Advice for Applying for Jobs

Northwest Pearls: Advice for Applying for Jobs I've been applying for jobs lately and it can be stressful and discouraging. But hey, at least we have computers and the internet. We don't (usually) have to fill things out by hand and mail them in! Here's a few bits of advice I have for you:

  • Keep a spreadsheet of where you've applied to, what position, the link to the posting, if you've applied, the date you applied, and if you've heard back. It helps to keep everything organized and it's nice to see what places you've applied to
  • Reward yourself for applying. Have a cup of tea or a piece of candy
  • Look daily or almost every day at new postings on job boards
  • Keep everything updated
  • Network
  • Do informational interviews. Get to meet people and maybe get some introductions to others in your field
  • Don't give up. We can do this!

Can you think of any advice to add?

Tips for Working From Home

Northwest Pearls: Working From Home


I've been fortunate this past week and a half to be able to work from home. It saves me a long commute and I get to sleep in a few hours. But working from home has its own annoyances; here are a few tips if you do, or are going to, work from home. Side note: these also apply to homework.

  • Keep your personal cell phone off and away. You (probably) don't look at it at work, so why have it within reach at home?
  • Shut the door to the room you're in. It keeps people and sound out (to an extent.)
  • Have a schedule. Set an alarm. Get up. Just because you're working at home, doesn't mean you should wake up at ten.
  • Tell your family to leave you alone. Seriously.
  • Use a program like Cold Turkey to keep you off of anything that can distract you.
  •  Eat meals away from your computer. This applies to both being at work and home. It allows for a change of scenery and position and it's not good for you to eat lunch at your desk.
  • When you're done, put work away and out of sight. That way you can relax.

Are there any tips you've found help you for working at home?

Creating a Portfolio

As I'm searching for that elusive job, I've realized (okay, I've known for a while now) that I need an online portfolio. (One outside of LinkedIn). So I finally bought a web address (through Wordpress) chose a theme (Editor) and launched it. The first page you see when you open it is the "About Me" and easily accessible through a sidebar menu are my resume, writing samples, design samples, and online media samples. I uploaded a picture of myself, edited a few things, and then added it to a few job applications. Hopefully having this available will help me to get a job. At the very least, because my profession requires a portfolio, this is a good thing to have. Have you created an online portfolio for yourself?

10 Tips for the Entry Level Job

Internship/Entry Level Job Tips:

  1. Don't have chipped nail polish.
  2. Don't have short skirts/dresses, even with tights under.
  3. Don't have low necklines/odd cutouts.
  4. Don't wear too much perfume.
  5. Don't have your cell phone out at your desk. Or at least don't sit around texting/surfing unless it's a break, or it's an emergency.
  6. Clean up after yourself.
  7. Wear comfortable shoes. If you need to, wear shoes to commute in and then change shoes once you've arrived.
  8. Keep a to-do list.
  9. Write down things you need to so you don't forget your instructions. This is the details of the to-do list.
  10. Ask questions/clarify your instructions. The only way you'll learn is if you ask questions.

These may not be the most important tips, or the most helpful, but they're good things to remember.

I Changed My Major the First Day of College

The first day of classes in my junior year, my second year of college, and my first year at a four-year University, I changed my major. I had done one year of Community college because I didn't know what to study, and it was cheaper than a four-year school. During that year, while I saved money, I didn't figure out what I wanted to do, but it allowed me to take more prerequisites, so that by the time I got to a four-year school, I was mostly taking classes in my major.

I wanted a good job, but all of the careers that guaranteed a job and higher income right out of college, didn't seem interesting to me.

So I settled on being an elementary teacher. I knew that the pay left something huge to be desired, but I would be able to find a job. That was my declared major for my junior year.

About twenty minutes into the first day of class (it was a elementary teaching class), while the teacher was still going over the syllabus, I decided to switch my major. I sat through the whole hour and a half class so as not to be rude, and while I sat there, I brainstormed what other major I could study. I settled on Communications because it sounded interesting, and I had a friend doing it and he liked it.

So as soon as class ended, I called my mom, told her, called my advisor, left a message with her, then went straight to the registrar's office. I am one of the few people who switch their major the first day of classes. So we switched my classes around, made a schedule that was more general/communication oriented, and took out all of the teaching classes. My advisor (who was a transfer advisor and not focused on only students of her department) got back to me, and I told her that I was a Communications major.

My reasoning was that Communications was something interesting to me, and that I could change my major again. People changed their major lots of times. I never did. I stayed with it and I loved it.

And while part of me still wishes I had dome computer science or engineering, I think that it's important to like what you study/do. I could never convince myself to study something for the money. Though I do wish I had desired to do something that paid well/had lots of job openings, I probably made the right choice. Besides, it's not very productive to go against God's plan, and with how bad I tried to get myself to major in something like materials engineering or electrical engineering but still couldn't, I was probably meant to be a Communication major.

So my advice to you, is to study something that you can see yourself doing for the next forty-fifty years.