On March 29, Brazen Careerist hosted two amazing events with Jenny Blake, author of the new book, Life After College: The Complete Guide to Getting What You Want. In her 30-minute webinar, Jenny introduced her core ideas from the book and gave some real-world advice that resounded with our community. Below, you’ll find a summary […]
On March 29, Brazen Careerist hosted two amazing events with Jenny Blake, author of the new book, Life After College: The Complete Guide to Getting What You Want. In her 30-minute webinar, Jenny introduced her core ideas from the book and gave some real-world advice that resounded with our community. Below, you’ll find a summary of the top five lessons we learned from Jenny. If you missed it, you can watch a re-run of the webinar here.
1. Your career is neither a ladder nor a pyramid. One of the troubling metaphors in our quest for success, is the idea that we’re climbing a ladder or building a pyramid, and at one point we will reach the top. But, Jenny said, we will never cease to set goals and set out new plans to go even further. Moreover, your career is not a linear experience. Instead, “think of your career like an iPhone,” said Jenny, “and every experience or job you have is like an application you download to it.” In this scenario, it’s OK to make lateral moves — and lots of them — to continue acquiring new and diverse experiences (or “apps”) that interest you.
2. You don’t always need a “five-year plan.” Jenny mentioned that one of her biggest pet peeves is being asked “So where do you see yourself in 5 years?” She said she’d rather not know, and just follow the opportunities as they come. According to TJ, a Brazen community member who attended the webinar, it was reassuring to think that “You don’t have to see the top of the stairs, that it’s best to just look at the next step or two,” that way taking on a big project or goal won’t seem so overwhelming.
3. Your job cannot be your sole-source of life worth. Just like you can’t derive all your self-worth from your partner in a relationship, trying to define your life by your career is just as problematic. Especially when you’re just starting out, it will be hard to gain much satisfaction from sorting mail or answering your bosses phone calls. Instead Jenny advised, think about your first jobs in terms of the skills you’re acquiring that will become the basis for succeeding in later roles. “For instance, making sales calls might be teaching you good communication skills,” said Jenny.
4. Find a “side-hustle.” If you’re not feeling completely fulfilled by your day job (a tall order in itself) — that’s okay! If you aren’t yet ready to make a major change or if it’s just not giving you all the skills you want, Jenny suggested a “side-hustle” may be for you. “A side hustle is anything you are doing outside of your full-time job (you know…the one that pays the bills), and often involves an entrepreneurial enterprise of some sort,” according to Jenny. Tracy Brisson, founder and CEO of The Opportunities Project and a life-coach in New York City agreed. “Jenny’s advice is about building your skills so you increase your control over your professional journey.” However, Brisson continued, “That advice is important whether you decide to start a side-hustle or not.”. Brazen community member and fellow side-hustler Mike Bruny also agreed: “You don’t have to choose a 9-5 or a business. You can do both (9-5 and a business).”
5. Lean on your support network. Jenny’s webinar inspired Brazen community member Dawn Batts to take some action on her idea for a baking side-hustle. “The first thing I did after the webinar and Roulette session was talk to my parents and friends about my ideas at launching a small business from my hobby. I thought that they (especially my parents) would tell me it was a waste of time and that I should focus more on going to graduate school and getting a “real job”, but I have been pleasantly surprised at how much positive feedback and support I’ve received.”
After the webinar, event participants had a chance to “Find Jenny” during an hour-long Network Roulette event. Congratulations to the five lucky participants who won copies of Life After College during the event! Also, a shout-out to Catherine Adamson, who won my personal award for the most creative side-hustle as a bee-keeper!
To learn more about Jenny’s book, visit her book website, her blog, or purchase your own copy on Amazon (currently selling for less than $9!).