Why YOU Should Take a Vacation

25 06 2013

78460682_XSThe world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. – St. Augustine

It’s officially Summer!  School is out, the days are getting longer, and your colleagues are starting to take their vacations.  But, you have soooo much work to do at the office.  Who has time for a real vacation?  Let’s face it, you’ll still be tempted to check your smartphone every waking moment, driving everyone around you absolutely NUTS.  I know.  I’ve been guilty of doing just that.  We all have. 

You work hard at what you do, right?  Think you deserve a little break?  I do.  Here are a few reasons why you should take a vacation as well as some creative suggestions on just how do get away.

Why you should take a vacation:

Recharge.  Recharge your batteries.  A vacation, when done right, will get you away from work.  This allows you to recharge and reinvigorate yourself.  You’d be surprised at what innovative ideas pop into your head when you’re not trying to think about them!

Disconnect & Reconnect.  Disconnect your devices.  Say it with me: “I will turn off my smartphone.  I will not check email.  I have left my department and colleagues in good condition in order to survive the short time I’m away.”  I found out first-hand that disconnecting also allowed me to reconnect.  Without the distraction of worrying about work and constantly checking my devices, I was able to reconnect with my wife, family, and friends, strengthening our relationships.  My full attention was devoted to this.  And yes, I did survive without posting updates, pictures and videos to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  People usually don’t care about your vacation – you do.  I took lots of pictures, uploaded them to Shutterfly, and created a photo book with my wife so we could look back on our vacation with fond memories.

Have Fun.  If you’re not having fun, is it really a vacation?  Take the time to relax, let your guard down, and have fun.  That’s it.

Give Back.  Use the opportunity to give back.  Whether it’s volunteering in your community, church, or simply offering to help a neighbor with yardwork, use your vacation to give back.  You’ll get a great feeling from it and those you help will certainly appreciate your help!

Some creative ideas:

Explore Your World.  If you have the chance to travel the country or world, do it.  The experiences gained during my travel across the world are ones that will stay with me for my entire life.  It’s a great way to learn about different cultures, history, and see things you’ve only seen in books and on the Travel Channel.  Take the chance and spend the money.  It’s worth it for the experience!  There are even opportunities to take educational tours.  I took a two-week tour of Europe that covered 8 countries with EF Tours, a company providing international travel opportunities for teachers and students, after graduation.  They are highly recommended.  Their website: www.eftours.com.

Explore Your Backyard.  With budgets tight, many families are opting for the “stay-cation”, where they do things in their hometown or state, but not making the trek to Walley World like the Griswold family.  This is a great way to find the hidden gems right under your nose.  Check with your local Chamber of Commerce or travel bureau.  They’ll know about the fun things happening in their city.

Go to Summer Camp.  I think we can all identify with the concept of summer camp.  As a kid, we went to sports camp, band camp, Boy Scout/Girl Scout camp, computer camp, camp, camp, CAMP!  The more activities we had to keep us busy in the summer, the happier our parents were and more “well-rounded” we became.  But, as adults, we don’t think about going to summer camp.  But, it’s making a comeback!  There are tons of camp programs out there for adults that include opportunities for learning the culinary arts, the art of wine tasting, fishing, hunting, skiing, even learning bull riding.  Just Google it.  You’ll find some interesting options.  Summer camp is no longer just for kids!

Go on a Vocation Vacation.  Are you in career transition?  Been laid off?  Want a new job?  Vocation vacations are a great way to test drive your dream job.  Becoming more popular in our current economic situation, vocation vacations are a way for job seekers to learn what it takes to be an actor, artist, restaurateur, even veterinarian.  Check out their website: www.vocationvacations.com

Regardless of what you do, do something.  It doesn’t have to be a 7-14 day period that involves cross-country travel.  Take a few days here and there.  Recharge.  You owe it not only to yourself, but to your company.  You’ll come back refreshed, happier, and quite possibly with new innovative ideas!

Where will YOU go?  You don’t need to leave specifics, but if you’ve ever gone on a life-changing vacation, I’d love to know!  It’s fun to add new destinations to the list.  As always, thanks for reading.


Expand Your Employability: 3 Killer Ways to Get Noticed and Get Hired

18 06 2013

Expand your Employability: 3 Killer Ways to Get Noticed and Get Hired

Guest post by Elizabeth Ross

Finding a job isn’t always easy, especially in today’s economy. You’re competing with countless others who have been unemployed for months or years, and you’re competing with new grads who have the exact same degree as you.

So how do you stand out?

1.  Get experience

If you didn’t have a plethora of internships in college, don’t despair. There’s still time for you to gain the experience you need to land that dream job. One thing you may have overlooked: Volunteering at an organization relevant to your field.

While volunteering obviously doesn’t get you money right away, you’ll gain experience that looks good on a resume – and you’ll probably learn some new skills along the way, too. And if nothing else? It’s always good to help others, no matter the task.

2. Earn extra credentials

So you have your degree. An associate’s, bachelor’s, maybe even a master’s. But nothing says you have to stop there. Consider pursuing further education in the form of a certificate or stackable credential.

While having more education doesn’t guarantee a job, it likely can’t hurt. And if you’ve been unemployed for a while, it can show hiring managers that you’re serious about your profession and you’ve kept on top of the latest trends in the industry.

3. Think outside the box

Do you think that all resumes are a few pages long and something you ship off to a hiring manager who may or may not look at it? Think again. Remember, your resume is your employer’s first impression of it. It’s also one of the deciding factors as to whether or not you land that job interview – so make it count.

Numerous resumes have gone viral in recent years, bringing attention – and often, a job – to their creators. Philipe Dubost created an Amazon-like resume, Chris Spurlock made his resume an infographic and Victor Rodriguez printed his resume on a cereal box. What can you do to make your resume stand out?

The bottom line

Finding a job can be a lot of, well, work. But if you can find ways to make yourself stand out from the hundreds of other applicants who are applying for the same jobs as you, you’re bound to make a good impression. Who knows, maybe you’ll even land your dream job!

Elizabeth Ross headshotAbout the author: Elizabeth Ross is an Inbound Marketing Specialist at Rasmussen College. She enjoys writing about a variety of topics and programs, including health information technology. Connect with Elizabeth on Twitter or Google+.

Inspiration from the Kid President

11 06 2013

kid president

I’m late to the game.  Apparently, Kid President has been circulating videos for months.  Some of them went viral.  I remember seeing them in my friend’s Facebook updates and Twitter posts, but never actually took the time to watch.  Boy, was I an idiot.  Kid President’s “pep talk” was the first thing I watched Monday morning and I have to say, I’m inspired.  When I’m inspired, I write.  So, here are a few things I learned from his speech:

It all starts somewhere…with a dream.  Dream big and do it often.  Those are some words of advice I received from a mentor once and they’ve stuck with me throughout my career.  We all start somewhere.  Most of us start at the bottom and that’s okay.  It just gives us more reasons to work our way to the top!  Big ideas come from smaller ideas that simply grow up.  Dream big.

We’re all on the same team.  Stop thinking about “us vs. them.”  Life is not a game.  I’m on your team – won’t you be on my team?  I love how Kid President mentions the fact that we have air coming out of our nose, our hearts beat and says “it’s time to do something.”  He’s right.  It is time to do something.  Stop waiting for the perfect opportunity and seize the day.  Make today better than yesterday, but keep improving.  Tomorrow will be better, but you must make it so!

Create something that will make the world awesome.  We have more resources available to us than any other generation in history.  It’s time to use those resources to make the world awesome, not worse.  Make something better.  Create something new, focusing on the good in the world.  Like he says, “you’re ‘gooder’ than that.”  Stop being boring.

What will you create?  Need a little pep talk?  Below is the video I mentioned from Kid President.  Watch it.  You’ll be glad you did.  Now, go out and make the world awesome!


Leading in the Workplace: A Comprehensive Guide to the Corporate Ladder

3 06 2013

Guest post by CollegeFocus

Okay, so you survived college and you were one of the lucky ones to secure an awesome job right when you got out. However, now you find yourself with a choice: You can either sit back, blend into the wallpaper and enjoy the fact that you’re gainfully employed, as many are content to do, or you can push yourself to start climbing that corporate ladder. Moving up in the business world isn’t as hard as you might think, and as long as you avoid some common pitfalls, work hard, and use some common sense, you’ll be jumping up the ranks in no time.

Corporate LadderIt’s OK to Start at the Bottom

A common misconception is that you have to be in a position of power in order to be a leader in the workplace. However, this simply isn’t true. Treat your new job like it’s your first day of college. No one knows who you are, so it’s up to you to decide how you want to be known. Take this opportunity to show that you are hungry and are willing to lead whenever the opportunity presents itself. Obviously, this will come more naturally to some people, but if you’re not a vocal person, you can still lead by example. Actions speak louder than words. So if you start out doing the little things that are within your power to do, your co-workers (and more importantly, your managers) will take notice.

Gain the Trust of Your Co-workers

It’s important to show your co-workers they can trust you. First, they have to be able to trust that fact that you’ll do what you say you’ll do, when you say you’re going to do it. Reliability is one of the first things that bosses look for when handing out promotions. It’s also important that you get them to trust you as a person; that you’re the type of person they can confide in if they need help or need someone to cover them.

Communication ConferenceDon’t Become One of the “Cool Kids”

It sounds cliché, but every workplace has them. These employees will usually gossip, complain about upper management, and will almost invariably convince themselves that they are better than everyone else in the office. You want to maintain a good relationship with your co-workers, so help them out, just don’t fall into the same mindset as then. Not only is it a toxic attitude, but it can also take away your motivation, and alienate you from your other co-workers.

Dealing with a Promotion

When you finally do move up, one of the biggest challenges will be maintaining your relationships with those who are now “beneath you” in the chain of command. The first thing you have to do is let them know that you’re still the same person. And you’ll still be able to joke around and have fun with them – after work. It’s important you make it very clear that they need to respect you as their boss. True friends will understand this. However, sometimes the divide can start to blur and you might find your authority being challenged. If this starts to happen, a simple one-on-one meeting may clear things up. You don’t need to reprimand them, but a closed-door talk will be enough to show that you mean business. Lastly, don’t play favorites. Nothing will put a target on your back faster than doling out special treatment. Treat everyone with the same amount of respect you want to be treated with, and you should do just fine.

About <a href="http://www.collegefocus.com/"the author: David Fridland is a writer for CollegeFocus, a site where you can compare rental prices on textbooks, and obtain a plethora of knowledge on the ins and outs of college as well as entering the career world. He graduated from the University of Colorado-Boulder with a degree in Political Science. When not writing, David spends most of his time out on the Ultimate Frisbee Field.