A Time for Reflection and Change

I have been working from home since March of 2020. The challenges of balancing child care, work, and navigating the new world created by the covid-19 pandemic has been overwhelming. Like many others in the world living through these hard time, the end of my comfortable, albeit dull routines, has caused me to reevaluate what I want out of my life including my career.

I am working on transitioning to work that will consist of self-employment and creative pursuits. I certainly think I will still be an employee at times, but I will doing creative work that feels me with purpose and energy. I have always had a deep love for animation, acting, and making stuff. One of the thoughts that have been driving this desire for change, has been the thought of how my younger self would be so disappointed with where I have ended up in my career choices. Not everyone gets to do work that qualifies as a “dream job”. I am not naive, but if I ever have to settle, let it be for a job that allows me the emotional and mental energy to create things in my free time.

If I ever have to take a day job to pay the bills, it’s going to be a job where I can leave any work problems at work when I punch the clock. I work hard and take pride in what I am able to accomplish. I do not like getting texts from my boss during my personal time. I do not like mandatory overtime. I do not like have to have multiple on site managers to please. The financial service / banking industry is not for me. Honestly, if my daughter was able to be vaccinated, I would go back to slinging lattes.

Expect some changes. The first one is simple. I have added an animation portfolio to this page. I still have a ways to go, but I will be making time, even at the cost of sleep, to sharpen my skills to a level where I can freelance and eventually maybe get a role in animation.

I have several other things I am going to try my hand at. I am running three small businesses in my spare time, what little of it I have. I am going to learn several art/tech skills. I will slowly assemble the skills that will pay the bills, without compromising on a healthy work-life balance. I want to be able to give my family, the time and energy they deserve from me.

I’ll Never Stop Learning

Even though I am done with college (for now), I have not stopped learning. Whether I am learning new things in my new position or in my spare time, I believe in order to live a full life one must strive to continuously expand their horizons.

In my new role as an operations analyst, I have learned a lot about cost basis and book keeping practices for financial firms. I have also learned about back office procedures for a financial firm and best practices to ensure accuracy of financial records. Financial markets are more complex and more fascinating than I had ever imagined.  I have a lot more to learn, but I find the journey exciting.

Recently, I helped a non-profit organization write a grant application. I learned about how best to word a grant request. I have written and pitched a business plan before and found that experience to be very similar to applying for a grant. I look forward to continue my volunteer work and learn more about how non-profits raise funds.

I have also been trying to learn to animate and use various software. I am currently working my way through a drawing course on Udemy, as well as learning how to use Adobe Animate. I created a simple movie today.

 

Are you trying to learn a new skill? Tell me about it in the comments.

The Job Hunt Ends!

Summer time is not an ideal time to find a job. This was my conclusion, after trying to count the number of applications I submitted. When summer turned to fall, I began to get contacted by a ton of recruiters. My anxiety shifted from the question of “What if I don’t find anything?” to that of “What job should I take?”. I had a number of interviews and recently accepted an offer. On Monday, I began my new role, as an Operations Analyst at a financial services company. I am excited by all I have learned thus far, and I look forward to continuing my career journey. I will continue to write here to share that journey with you.

I want to take a moment to thank my wife for her continuing support and encouragement. She never lost faith in me and helped keep me from getting discouraged. I also received a lot of encouragement from my former coworkers at Starbucks. I look forward to seeing my friends from Starbucks achieve their own career aspirations. I certainly would not have felt so comfortable in my new position, with out all the mentorship I received while at the SEC. I appreciate the time my colleagues at the SEC spent helping me develop the knowledge and skills that have allowed me to make a smooth transition in to my new role. Thank you to everyone who offered me a kind word during this time of change. It´s never easy to change and I appreciate the support.

Camp Nanowrimo

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It takes place in November. Camp NaNoWriMo is a summer version that began in 2011. These events take place online. A community of writers cheer each other on as they strive to reach their personal word counts.

I am ambitious ,so I set my goal as 50,000 words. I plan to write a few short stories. I then plan to revise my favorite and submit it for publication. Regardless of whether I succeed in publishing something or not, I will feel great completing my word count goal.

I enjoy writing. It’s a creative outlet that allows me to become a more effective communicator. Maybe I will never be published, but I have definitely utilized my skills on the job. Whether I am creating a work document or delivering a presentation, I know I am aided by all the time I spend plunking away on my keyboard.

During the camp in July, I’m going to be writing a series of mysteries whose protagonist is a socially awkward techie. When Ben Evens finds he no longer has a job, he quickly finds himself thrust into a new career as a amateur private detective. It doesn’t come naturally to him at first, but he has a keen eye for detail and limitless trivia knowledge from hours on Wikipedia.

Are participating in Camp NaNoWriMo? If so tell me about what you plan to write about in the comments below. Need to hire an effective communicator or writer? Reach out on the contact page or connect with me on LinkedIn. 

Employment Seeking Ad Campaign Update

This post is an update from the plan outlined in this post.

After five days days, my Facebook ad campaign generated 71 clicks and cost 30.00. No recruiters reached out to me. My LinkedIn Profile received around seven additional views.

I have two thoughts. The ad didn’t clearly market me for one role. I feel if I had perhaps chosen a specific role, it might have been more successful. The other thought is that perhaps Facebook ads are not the greatest way to reach recruiters.

I was trying to think outside the box. I think, nowadays you have to be creative if you want to land a really desirable position. I want to turn the job hunting process on its head. It’s better to be job hunted. I don’t really feel like some algorithm that finds keywords in modern online application software is going to properly score my experience.

All this might make me seem desperate. I am underemployed but not unemployed. The truth is I can wait quite a while before I would be in a position where I would have to take anything. I want to be in a position where I can choose the best possible position. I don’t want to be one of those people who goes to work everyday hating their job. What’s the point? We spend so much of our time working. Why not try to do work that is personally fulfilling?

Could your company use a creative problem solver? Reach out to me on the contact page.

My Flight Attendant Years

In 2008 I accepted a job working as a flight attendant for Colgan Air. I had been trying to get an airline job for a couple of years. I had previously been applying exclusively to legacy carriers based out of my local airport. I had just attended an airline trade school as a last resort to make this dream become a reality. Once I commit to a goal, I will achieve it eventually.

I attended flight attendant training in Albany, New York. I had to study my flight attendant manual, emergency procedures, federal aviation regulations, and airline operations. After several weeks of classes and successfully completing emergency drills, I got my wings.

I ended up being based out of Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) .  I had actually made EWR my first choice, as it was a hub and I figured it would be easier to travel on my days off from a hub than from an out station. Prior to relocating to New Jersey, I had been living in Athens, Georgia. I had moved up from Florida before that. I’m always up to relocating for the right opportunity. That being said, the largest city I had ever lived near before moving to Newark was Columbus, Ohio. It was a certainly a new experience living in such a crowded city. I adjusted over time. Eventually I felt at home enough to start taking the train in to NYC and wander around.

During my time as a flight attendant, I had several challenging work days. I had several medical emergencies. I had to deal with maintenance and weather delays. I had to handle passenger complaints and utilize diplomacy when flight crew members didn’t always get along. The days were long, but it’s still one of the greatest jobs I’ve ever had.

I frequently worked on our flagship. One of the Dash-8 Q400 Aircrafts was named after  Senator Charles Colgan, the founder of Colgan Air. I referred to this particular aircraft as “Bad Luck Chuck”. According to galley gossip, the Aircraft had been struck by lighting more than any other Q400 in the fleet.  The nose cone of the aircraft had a number of chips from lightning strikes. I was present during two strikes. Believe it or not, a lightning strike is not a particularly dangerous occurrence during flight.  The aircraft has to be signed off on the ground by an aircraft mechanic, but generally the aircraft can continue flying on the same day. It can still be, understandably so, a little unsettling for the passengers. I was seated in the back of the aircraft when a loud strike to the nose caused the cabin lights to flicker. Turbulence shook the aircraft’s cabin and the overhead bins shuttered in protest. The plane went silent. I couldn’t hold it in. I chuckled, in an evil villain kind of way. The passengers looked back at me in disbelief and several of them laughed in return. I was relatively used to the summer storms. I always tried to make passengers feel safe and tried to ensure I never looked frightened.

One of the most memorable days occurred when we had an issue with the landing gear. I was on an aircraft where the the tires on the front landing gear popped during take off and we had to prep the cabin for an emergency landing. Initially the front gear wouldn’t come down. Luckily, it eventually did. The pilots did a great job of doing an easy landing. Although the aircraft’s nose gear was in no condition for us to taxi to the gate, we were not in any danger and a bus came to ferry the passengers to the terminal. During this situation and others I was able to keep a cool head. I’ve always been told I have a calm, serious demeanor. I found this quality was an asset to my duties as a flight attendant.

During the course of a person’s life it’s very likely they’ll have to step foot on an aircraft, whether they are afraid of flying or not. If a passenger didn’t tell me (frequently they did) I could always tell if they were afraid of flying. I would always kneel down to make eye contact and reassure them. I would tell them to not hesitate to press the flight attendant call button if they needed anything. I was comfortable in the air, but to those not used to it I could understand their fears. I still believe flying is the safest form of transportation.

I eventually became promoted to Check Flight Attendant. I conducted Initial Operating Experiences (IOE) for the new flight attendants. I ensured that they had properly learned everything they should of in ground school and signed them off if I was confident in their abilities after a number of flights. I also was responsible for ensuring that flight attendants were in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations and company policies. I took great pride in my work and enjoyed mentoring new flight attendants.

I enjoyed my time working for Colgan Air. The airline ultimately ceased operations due to poor financial planning and a tragic accident in 2012. I went on to work for another regional airline before leaving the friendly skies to focus on college. I improved my leadership abilities, my communication skills, and became much more self reliant. I often recommend that people who do not yet know what they wish to do for a living should consider becoming a flight attendant. It’s a really great transitional role. I had the opportunity to meet lots of different people and visit lots of new places. I even was able to travel on my days off. I once took a solo trip to Japan for a week. It was during my time as a flight attendant that I wrote my first business plan and decided to go to college.

Could your company benefit from hiring a travel expert ,who can remain calm while flying through thunderclouds? Contact me on the contact page and connect with me on LinkedIn.

Lessons I Learned at Starbucks

I worked at Starbucks for a relatively long time. What can I say? I need coffee to live and it was a great place to work while I was in school. During my time there, I experienced a lot of personal and professional growth. These are my biggest takeaways:

Anticipate your customer’s needs and then exceed them.

Just by doing small extra things for a customer, you can create a memorable experience. I found that customers became friends through small acts. This connection didn’t just create repeat customers. It created a sense of community.

Don’t ask anyone to do anything you would not be willing to do yourself.

I was familiar with the concept of servant leadership. However, working as a leader behind the line with my baristas really helped make this my favorite leadership style. I found that by saving at least one of the more laborious or detailed tasks for myself I was able to gain and keep the respect of those I supervised. I also began to immediately touch base with everyone on my shift. Whenever they leave I think of one accomplishment I can thank them for.I also had a far better idea of the challenges and opportunities for our business due to a better understanding of the roles of those I was responsible for.

Always continue to develop your knowledge beyond your initial training.

I became known as the coffee and company history expert. I achieved this feat by reading several related books and completing an optional training to become a Starbucks Coffee Master. I found that the outcome , my reputation at Starbucks, far exceeded my effort. A little bit of ambition goes a long way.

Never compromise your principals in the pursuit of profit.

Howard Schultz has said in the past that success is meaningless if you “arrive at the finish line alone.” It’s better to find yourself surrounded by winners at the finish line. At Starbucks the winners aren’t just the shareholders, but also coffee growers, partners (employees), and social/environmental causes.

I learned that it is important to not become shortsighted. Doing the right might not always lead to better quarterly earnings. However some business leadership understand that building a legacy leads to larger profits over time.

Do you think my experiences would make my a valuable asset to your team? Reach out to me on the contact page or through LinkedIn.

I Graduated, Now What?

I graduated on May 22nd. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting. It was so unreal. After four years of hard work, I finally had completed this leg of my journey. I know I will never be done learning, but at least I have completed this important milestone.

The immediate reality that sunk in was that job hunting could be an exhausting experience. I also learned that applying online and waiting to hear back from an employer was not an efficient way to find work. After applying for countless jobs, I decided to create this site to allow prospective employers to find me.  Once I find work, I will continue to use it as a networking tool.

If you are hiring, check out my linkedIn. If you have any opportunity that would be well suited for me, feel free to reach out by using the contact page.

My Internship at the SEC

I had the privilege of being selected to participate in the Student Honors Program at the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s New York Regional Office for both the fall and spring semester of my senior year. It was an incredible experience.

During my internship I assisted Security Compliance Examiners with two exams, as part of the National Exam Program. I learned a lot about the financial markets and regulation. I had the opportunity to review a company’s internal documents and document trends. I created work documents and shared the results of my work with staff. I did research to understand the company’s internal policies and procedures to ensure that the company was operating in compliance. I took notes at meetings and created a finalized version of official meeting minutes.

If you think this experience would make me an asset to your company, reach out to me by sending me a message on the contact page or LinkedIn. 

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