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The Real World vs The Real You

23 Jun

What comes to mind when someone sarcastically makes a remark or reference to “the real world”?  Hard work and low pay?  Settling for less than you think is out there?  The true story of seven strangers… picked to live in a house to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real?  (Hint: If you picked the last one, then congratulations, because you more than anyone should be on my website right now.)

KindaSortaKiddingButNotReally…

Say it:  “The real world”.  It’s one of those awful terms that somewhere along the way got smacked with an unforgivingly negative connotation.  Because there is a real world, and you’re living, working, and in an ideal scenario, THRIVING in it.  But how about that last one – are you truly THRIVING?  So ask yourself this: You’re living in the real world.  But are you living the Real You?

Real…authenticity…not fake…in line with your true core values, drive, purpose,  passions, talents and interests for your life.  There’s a common misconception, particularly with “entering” the real world via entry-level status — i.e. “I hope you enjoyed that free burrito at the dining hall!  Here’s your building pass; you have 30 minutes for lunch.” – that you need to check your true self at the door to make a living or be successful.  The same concept presents itself even if you’ve been in the ‘real world’ for a couple years, or even a couple decades.  Are we really expected to tie the tourniquet and suppress all the desires and visions we creatively constructed from our life experiences over twenty/thirty-something years?

For everyone answering “Yes…” to that question… that’s just one more person putting me out of business.  Please reconsider.

Most of us probably have chosen to sacrifice those things at some point, and still do, and congratulations to us, as we just landed a seat next to that guy who you think works for marketing…or HR…but you really don’t even know because he never talks and is miserable all the time.  He also followed the rules.  Sounds like a great time…  You know where playing it safe got millions of people in 2009?  Still laid off.

Arguably, it’s not about fun.  Fun hopefully becomes a shining factor in the professional mecca, but the bigger picture is really about fulfillment.  Are you going to wait around in an uncomfortable, unfulfilling, unsatisfying (but arguably “safe”) position until you one day find yourself enjoying a sympathy cocktail and reaffirming yourself that the layoffs were “really a blessing in disguise”?  What a waste of valuable time!  Don’t get me wrong – sometimes it makes complete sense to hold steady and make the best of a less than perfect   situation –  if you enjoy the company and are working your way up, building valuable experience, or building your network.  There IS a such thing as career stepping stones.  But make sure what you’re stepping on is actually a rock and not a pile of….

It is important that no matter your objectives and regardless of outcome, that you understand that your every decision is a conscious choice.  If you are unhappy where you are, every day that you remain there is a conscious choice to do so.  Not settling for anything less than what you know you were meant to do in this life, and committing to doing whatever it takes to get there – that’s a choice as well.  AND A DAMN GOOD ONE, NO?

Fulfillment comes in many forms, and it’s a wonderfully tangible thing that manifests differently for every person.  That is because we all come into our lives and our adulthood with different values, different wants, different expectations, experiences and talents.  But the process of SHIFTING ourselves to a more positive and fulfilling place in our lives, no matter where we’re coming from, and no matter where we’re going, remains the same.  And what’s that?  It’s this.

So digest this food for thought again: You’re living in the real world.  But are you living the Real You?

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Deducting Your Job Search Expenses

12 Apr

Whether you are employed or out of work, the expenses related to your job search may qualify as tax deductible.  Certain expenses typically qualify as deductions, but to be certain talk to a tax professional before filing.  These include expenses related to:

  • Resume Preparation
  • Career Counseling Services
  • Employment Agency Fees
  • Travel Expenses (if the trip was primarily for job-related purposes)
  • Vehicle Mileage (standard mileage rate for deduction is 48.5 cents per mile)
  • Communication (phone, fax, etc.)
  • Associated Legal Fees

There are also certain criteria you MUST meet, depending upon your employment status, in order to deduct your job search-related expenses.

If you are employed…

  • You can deduct expenses related to your job search within the same field, and your search should be at a similar level of responsibility with duties similar to your current role.
  • You can deduct expenses that equal at least two percent of your income

If you are unemployed…

  • You cannot deduct expenses if you were unemployed for awhile BEFORE starting your job search
  • You cannot deduct expenses if you are conducting a first-time job search.  The exception to this is if you held a college internship or related job in college, and your search is related to the same field.

Whether you’re getting your taxes in last minute for 2009 or plan to conduct a job search in 2010, it is critically important to keep track of all of your expense-related receipts so that your deductions are as accurate as possible.  Start now!  And save some coin in 2011.  For more information visit http://www.irs.gov.

New Tele-Seminar Series: Taking the Leap

30 Mar

This month jump-starts a fresh and exciting new 5-part tele-seminar series for young professionals and those entering into the career realm entitled Taking the Leap.

In an age where logistics and circumstances so often define our career decisions and our lives, it can seem like an impossibility to truly follow one’s passion in the face of adversity and challenge. The “Taking the Leap” tele-seminar series explores the lives of 5 young professionals who each made different decisions to take a leap of faith, and ultimately invent and reinvent themselves to create a career and life they are passionate about.  As young professionals  it’s easy to be blinded and overwhelmed by social, professional and financial obligations, and not realize the many different possibilities that are open to you when it comes to navigating your career path.  Not everyone opts to take ‘whatever comes their way’, to settle for earning a steady paycheck, or to take the road most travelled.  Hear the experiences of a few extraordinary people who faced the typical challenges of being a young professional, and redefined the norm in pursuit of their passions… and succeeded.

For more information and to register see the Events page.  Sign up for all 5 seminars and registration for the fifth one is free!

Register Now for the 5-Session Series

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