My Visit to a Life Coach

christinas_world

In 2010, I was feeling stuck at my job and thinking about making a big career change. I was the marketing manager at a small business in the urban forestry field. I loved the people I worked with and enjoyed some of my responsibilities, but not as many as I wanted, and I was concerned that I wasn’t very passionate about urban forestry. But I was having a deeply fulfilling experience doing something else: For two years I’d been volunteering in my free time with an animal welfare non-profit, and I considered pursuing a full-time, paying job in the field. A big change was exciting to contemplate, but it was accompanied by concerns that I would end up utterly consumed by the work, emotionally fatigued, and not earning enough to make a living. I decided that I wanted to see a life coach for guidance.

(read more…)

How to Be Bad at Something

I'm not bad, just bad at singing.

 Bad: [adj.] not good in any manner or degree.

 

I’m a terrible singer, but at this time last year, I signed up for singing lessons—mostly because as poorly as I sing, I really like doing it. Belting out pop songs and show tunes makes me happy, and I thought taking a few lessons might build a bit of confidence (not to mention help me with my pitch) and make it even more fun. I did this despite knowing that I would never be good at it fundamentally, and in the process, I learned some important rules of thumb for how to be bad at something.

The basics of how to enjoy being bad are simple: Pick an activity you enjoy doing for fun but are pretty bad at, and laugh when you mess up. These instructions are, of course, deceptively simple. The tricky part is maintaining the attitude of actually enjoying that you’re bad at something. Here’s how to do that successfully: (read more…)

The Art of Starting a Career Group

La Gerbe, by Henri Matisse

Steph was once described to me by a mutual friend of ours as someone who made you feel that anything was possible. And it’s true—whether it’s undertaking a complicated recipe for chocolate babka, reupholstering chairs, or taking impromptu trips, Steph is someone who has a lot of ideas, and a big, enthusiastic smile for every one of them. It makes you want to join her in whatever it is she’s proposing. After finishing a graduate program last year in urban planning and feeling somewhat dissatisfied with the freelance consulting work she was doing, she came to me with her latest idea: a career group for women. We sat down to plan. (read more…)

Do You Look Forward to Going to Work?

P1030697

 

“I should wake up excited to go to work,” we tell ourselves. For many people, this feeling is so essential to our definition of what it means to have a great job that we don’t even question it. But is how much you look forward to going to work in the morning a barometer for how good your job is? This topic came up at a recent career group session and led to a really interesting discussion.

(read more…)

Namesake: On Being Small (Or, How to Name a Blog)

Wisława Szymborska, Kraków, 1980, photo: Wojciech Plewiński / Forum
Wisława Szymborska, Kraków, 1980, photo: Wojciech Plewiński / Forum

We struggled to pick a name for this site. We wanted to give a sense of the topics areas we’ll be addressing without being too literal, too self-helpy, or too limiting since this site focuses on career and work, but also greater life choices. We brainstormed, researched, and tested out ideas (the runner up was “The Sounding Line,” after a nautical tool for measuring depths). We thought about literary references (James and the Giant Peach), biological themes (equilibrium, symbiosis), and object analogies (Newton’s Cradle). (read more…)