subway crooner extraordinaire

 

A passerby captured subway crooner Damon Scott performing a cover of Adele’s “Someone Like You” the other day at the 86th street station.  Apart from the simple and moving soulful rendition, Scott remarks at the end, with a smile, “Have a good day- and don’t let nobody ruin it for you.” I think we can all stand to learn a valuable lesson from Scott- one that we have to remind ourselves of from time to time: we are in charge of our own happiness, and the path our lives follow.  Whether it be in love, friendship, a career, or leisure- no one is responsible for your satisfaction except for you, so take charge and take care. 

I’ve been in my fair share of tedious jobs, enough to recognize the value of the genuine enjoyment Damon gets from performing.  He’s not filling Madison Square Park or making millions (although he does collect a good chunk of change from some generous passer-bys), but you can hear the smile in his voice.  I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again because it’s worth repeating: do what you love and love what you do- the money will follow.  So much emphasis is placed on the income generated by employment rather than the section of your soul it fills.  Not every job will be your dream job, the majority of them might be far from it, but if you’re progressing toward a career goal, it’s worth the struggle.  What I’m trying to say is, don’t let whatever it is that makes you tick lie stagnant: nurture your creativity, engage with the world.  If you need that extra push to get you moving, watch Damon Scott again and try not to smile.

Make moves, do you.

each one teach one

Way back when, wrapped up in the throes of “What color is your parachute?” I encountered a section toward the end of the book entitled, “Each one teach one.” Devoted as I was to discoveering exactly which shade of crazy my particular parachute might be, I dutifully plowed through the chapter.  Really? I thought to myself, I’m having a hard enough time just trying to get my own life together, how could I teach anyone how to do the same? As the months have gone on, and employment has followed, I’ve found myself obsessing less about the color of my parachute than simply being grateful for the fact that I have one.

As my own anxiety about unemployment has waned, I have become acutely aware of friends and acquaintances experiencing the same emotions I did just a short time go. Whenever possible, I offer my advice, guidance, enthusiasm, and above all, positive reinforcement. Looking back over these conversations, as much as I’ve helped others I’ve helped myself. Simply reiterating the sense of hope and perseverance I feel about the road ahead reinforces them for me, and I feel a renewed drive to make the positive changes I’m encouraging in others. So, each one teach one? Perhaps it hasn’t turned out to be as selfless of a mantra as I originally thought, but it’s certainly helped more than a few people move along in the world!

pursuit of happiness

 

As the holiday shopping frenzy descends upon New York and the rest of the world, let’s take a minute (with Kid Cudi) and remember what’s really important: the pursuit of happiness.  Take a cue from an artist who pioneered the ability to succeed independently of a big label, and go after your dreams.

C. Coolidge with a helping hand

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

– Calvin Coolidge

via Persistence Quotes – BrainyQuote

Listen, all you fellow unemployed, there is almost nothing as valuable in your quest for a career as sheer and undeterred persistence.  You must be relentless in your search, in networking, in finding and using resources, in perfecting your resume, crafting your cover letter, and finally in securing an interview.  Lest you feel your plate already too full, there’s more.  Once you’ve gotten the interview, and aced it, you MUST follow up, and keep in contact!  It’s hard to know how many candidates you’re competing against, so don’t let your great first impression be forgotten!  Whether it’s a simple question of scheduling or perhaps your curious about a company’s involvement in other areas of your interest, DO email your contact.  Your continued interest will be proven, in a much more interesting way than sending essentially a second thank-you note.  Any opportunity you have to remind a potential employer not only of your existence, but more importantly of your ability to succeed beyond any other candidate’s capacity, is one you should SEIZE! 

Getting a job is really a form of sales, if you think about it.  Your selling your skill set, your ambition, and you have to do so in much the same way that a sales associate might: be direct without being pushy, be confident without seeming overly aggressive, and above all, leave your potential employer with the impression that you are, of course, imminently capable of all the job requires.  DETERMINATION, as Calvin Coolidge so eloquently remarks, is OMNIPOTENT.  So get out there and carpe diem!

why we should all be more like j-lo

This is the woman who rose to fame with “Selena”, inspired me to wear horrible hoop earrings throughout middle school, came out with a SUPREME album (one of the best of the 90s, in my opinion), suffered a small mistep also known as “Gigli-Ben-Affleck”, got engaged to Affleck, broke it off, married Marc Anthony, gave birth to twins, and is now recently divorced from Anthony.  You might think an international star, recently divorced, raising two children, might take a step back and lay low, but not this diva.  Have you SEEN the woman lately?  Don’t tell me you haven’t, she is ALL OVER.  Point being, this is what you need to be doing, people!  Unemployment is anything but pleasant, but, like J-Lo, you need to put any discontent aside and GET OUT THERE!

What have you done lately to better your chances of employment?  I’ll tell you what J-Lo has done: a Fiat ad campaign, a line of clothing and accessories for Kohls that, let me tell you, is anything but dowdy, ad campaigns for both GUCCI children and TOUS (who, I’ll have you know, have employed some of the biggest celebrities to rock their jewelry; she’s promoted Blackberry and she’s also filmed a commercial for a L’Oreal mascara.  Okay, so none of these things are directly related to her acting or singing career.  The important lesson here is, it doesn’t matter!  She’s keeping herself relevant and talked about, for all the right reasons.  She’s in everyone’s face in the best way.  You need to do the same!  

PUBLICIZE your unemployment!  I don’t mean beg for a job, I mean NETWORK.  Talk to your friends, former colleaguges, any connections, and let them know you’re in the market for a job.  This most likely will not directly result in a job offer, but spreading the word is never a bad thing!  In addition, like J-Lo, keep yourself relevant!  Work part-time, write, photograph, travel (well, maybe don’t travel), volunteer, blog, start a book-club- do something productive and WORTH TALKING ABOUT.  You never want to answer a potential employer’s inquiry of “So what have you been doing since (school, your last job, etc.)?” with “Not much!”

Lesson of the day?  Jenny from the block has done pretty well for herself by putting it all on the line, working hard and being aggressive, and so will you!

read a magazine!

10 Leaders and the Surprising Ways They Stay Productive | Inc.com

There is plenty of great literature out there for job seekers- but sometimes you don’t have the time or energy to plow through three-hundred pages of advice.  What to do?  One option is Entrepreneur Magazine, which I’ve found to be a great resource as far as understanding the job market and tools to break into it.

Another is Inc. Magazine, which has been floating around my home for as long as I can remember- but it wasn’t until last week that I actually paged through an issue.  Articles are concise and straight-forward, and although aimed at entrepreneurs and professionals, it serves as great inspiration for job seekers everywhere.  This month’s issue highlights a great article which is actually online (thus FREE to all you non-subscribers!), “10 Leaders and the Surprising Ways They Stay Productive.”  I thought I’d highlight some of the advice these leaders offer that applies directly to the job hunt, and how to keep up your energy and productivity in the process:

1. Arianna Huffington: Get some sleep!  She advocates dropping your work when it strikes that bed-time hour and calling it a night- a rested day is a much more productive day.

2. Steven King: Above all else, be consistent! King writes 10 pages a day, weekend or holiday, which is a great rule of thumb for aspiring writers.  For everyone else out there, do something that is productive and beneficial every day, and BE CONSISTENT about it!

3. Richard  Branson: Work out! Branson advocates exercise as the number one tool to his productivity.  Get your blood pumping, get those endorphins flowing.  You’ll sleep better and feel more energetic, what could be better?

5. Ram Shriram: Keep a diary! Create a manual of what has worked and what hasn’t, Shriram suggests.  This diary will also serves as a record of your accomplishments- which is invaluable when it comes to crafting your cover letter or an interview.

Any other great magazines for job seekers out there?  Sometimes it helps to be able to tear out great articles, mark up a page, or just physically put an article in your “inspiration folder.”  Oh, you don’t keep one of those?  Start! Fill it with your dream job, dream life, dream home, dream vacation, dream relationships- everything that you want your life to be, and the way you can get there.  It can be a folder, a box, a shelf in your closet- I think it’s important to make what you want real, even if it doesn’t exist yet.  My dream job section is JAM packed, and I really think keeping an eye out for things to fill it with helps me pinpoint what it is exactly I want out of my career.  Maybe it could work for you!