All Articles Tagged "career advice"
At some point in your career you’re going to question whether or not you should head back to school. There’s nothing wrong with the decision not to get a masters or PhD as sometimes it’s not needed for job advancement. If you’re interested in a higher degree, here are some questions to ask before you say commit to graduate school.
Sometimes in life you’re dealt a series of cards that can make things extremely frustrating. You feel like you aren’t getting ahead and are on an endless spiral of bad luck. It can happen to the best of us which makes the response time to picking ourselves up a little slow. There are tons of different reasons why we feel stuck. Hopefully one of them is not your own doing.
Here are nine signs you’re getting in your own way! Don’t sabotage your own success.
Life deals us a blow, we get back up. We get knocked back down, we get back up. Sooner or later those marks become bruises to our ego and desire to continue on the path we thought was best for our lives. As tempting as throwing in the towel is, we simply cannot afford to end our pursuit of happiness. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t give up on your dreams.
Have you ever been close to quitting?
The best thing that ever happened to me in college was being accepted into a national magazine internship. I held that as near to my heart as Gollum held the ring. The worst thing that ever happened was turning it down. It wasn’t really a decision, it was just bad timing. Regardless, the situation has been an anecdotal warning about the power of internships — especially the right internships.
Although I didn’t get to spend a summer in New York being paid by a men’s interest behemoth, I did get to travel abroad for twice as long and intern for a publishing house. I gained experience at four publications in two departments, and got to roam Australia under the veil of education. I’d call it even. Yet anytime I’m passed over for lack of experience, I have to think…well, what if?
Many students and recent graduates are wary of internships, especially those that are out-of-state, full-time and unpaid. It’s a financially debilitating proposition. But it is also potentially lucrative in the long run.
A handful of my peers took on unpaid opportunities that led to permanent placement or at least steady freelancing within months of graduation. And in fields such as communications and marketing, the connections made in internships are often the difference between struggle and hustle.
In that sense, internships are more than stepping stones and pre-entry-level training. More than auditions for careers post-8 a.m. classes. They teach the intricacies of professional environments, including the politics and nuance of the office and the job market. So each opportunity should be carefully considered rather than blindly accepted.
Where you intern matters. Some recruiters will look at a résumé and respond to name drops like a video vixen at a listening party — dismissing the skills gained if acquired at the wrong place. More still will compare the companies where you’ve professionally volunteered and compare them to their own as a measure of your ability to handle the workload. Which is why top corporations are able to secure leading candidates despite more financially desirable options.
And because the primary influence on your career is you, who you meet, the impression you make and how you personally shape the experience are major factors as well. Which might mean accepting the internship in the editorial department though you’re actually interested in production is the best decision. At least you’ll be in the building. And once you’re there, frequent trips to the art department — but only after you’ve finished your real assignment — could lead to purposeful networking, solid references and greater opportunity.
But if anyone asked whether internships were an essential part of securing a job, I’d hesitate to say yes. My post-graduation internship led to freelance opportunities, but it was my freelancing of a completely separate vein that lead to my first full-time role. I have friends and colleagues who can’t find a role they love despite three internships, and others who get calls about jobs only because of them.
What results of an internship can be tremendous or slight. More important than anything is getting out there and casting a net far and wide. As far and wide, perhaps, as the oceans and opportunities will take you.
All of us have (or should have) some professional end goal in mind. Whether it’s climbing up the corporate ladder or launching a business of your own, all of us are looking for that “aha” moment where everything comes together. Success doesn’t just happen overnight and requires time. Rather than wait for the perfect opportunity, make your moves now. Here are some tips on how to reach your breakthrough.
Everyone has their breaking point — what they can and cannot tolerate. The question is at what point do you throw in the towel, or offer your letter of resignation? Given the status of today’s economy, all of us should be counting our stars to land a job. It’s something that no longer comes easy. What happens when your dream position turns out to be a nightmare? Do you try to hang around for the long run, or make the decision to leave sooner than later? Here are some things to consider before and after you decide to quit a new job.
Let’s take a look at the things you should do before you quit.
No matter how you slice it, discrimination can and will happen in the workplace. There’s just no getting around ignorance or a corporate culture that deems everyone should try to look and act the same. As much as we pride ourselves for things that make us unique, sometimes what makes us stand out can work against us. Here’s a look at ways your name can affect your career. Obviously it comes down to you as an individual — and how you work your hustle — but it’s good to know the obstacles you may face.
Do you think your name plays a part in how successful you are at work?
How is your career coming along? Are you were you imagined you would end up, or do you still have some ways to go? It’s okay if you still have moves to make. Life is all about the steps we take to get to where we need to be. If you have been reflecting on your life and decisions, here are some pointers on how to get to where you want to be in your profession.
Who said young Blacks aren’t making their mark in the tech world? Morgan DeBaun, co-founder of recently launched tech startup Blavity, is on a mission is to empower minority creators, inspire self-expression and connect people to content that reflects their culture. Blavity users can visit the site daily to check out the top videos curated by their preferences and what their network has been watching or sharing. Morgan talks about what inspired the platform, the power of black consumption habits, the challenges of being a Black female startup founder, and her future plans for Blavity. Check out the interview below.
MadameNoire (MN): You launched the platform in July 2014. What inspired you to start Blavity?
Morgan DeBaun (MD): There was this moment during my freshman year at Washington University in St. Louis where I was like, “I know I go to an all-white school, but I only hang out with Black people.” We had this term called “blavity” which is black + gravity. How did we all find each other? That’s where we got the idea of aggregating and bringing together different perspectives of diversity of Black experience into one platform.
Living in Silicon Valley, my business partner Jeff and I were always baffled as to why there is no platform geared towards solving our problems when we are a huge population of consumers. We were passionate about building a platform for people to discover new things and for creators to build their audience and to be powered to be their own brands.
MN: A 2013 Nielson report showed that African Americans are aggressive consumers of media and have unique buying behaviors different from the other major consumer groups. How is Blavity going to change the Black consumer marketplace?
MD: Look at Black Twitter. It’s bringing together people virtually over what’s happening and is relevant in our community. We’re killing Instagram. People love seeing other people’s experiences. With Blavity, we want to continue to empower the population to create those shared experiences.
Blavity uses a mix of Lean Startup practices where you’re asking, “What is the core root problem that we are trying to solve?” “How can we solve that problem the fastest and cheapest, get it to market and get feedback from our customers?” And “How we are going to build something substantial that is unique and proprietary and give us a competitive advantage?” What you see today is the first bucket but we are working behind the scenes on the second bucket.
MN: What were some of the challenges you faced to get Blavity up and running?
MD: The first thing was putting a stake in the ground that said we are building this community for the Black diaspora. This totally influenced everything else. We knew if we focused on solving this problem for a specific group of people, there’s so much opportunity. The second was figuring out who are we prioritizing. The creators are the lifelines for Blavity. We spend 65-75% of our resources and our time towards helping these creators be successful. Right now we are starting to thinking about venture capital funding. The first time raising money is a huge barrier for a woman of color with a minority product. It’s like we are a triple whammy: A woman, a Black woman founder, building a product for Black people. It’s a cool challenge to have. I am confident that our team can make it work.
Lisha Lee and Bethany “Queen B” Bell are two beauty entrepreneurs who have amassed a large following in a short period of time. Lee’s Hair Insanity, Lisha Lee Cosmetics brands and Queen B’s majestic hair artistry have put them both in positions of “ones to watch” in the worlds of beauty and art. MadameNoire talked with both women to find out their secrets to business and creative success in an already crowded industry.
Madame Noire: Please talk about why you decided to get into your respective fields in the beauty industry?
Lisha Lee: With hair extensions, I thought about starting my business (Hair Insanity) about four, five years ago. My hair is very coarse and my hair was breaking off due to flat ironing. I was trying to get my hair the same texture as a friend of mine, who has virgin hair, which is very fine and silky. I thought to myself that there has to be something different to achieving the same desired results for my hair without damaging it.
I started doing research and that’s when I [read] about Brazilian and Malaysian hair. I thought to myself, “Hmmm, what if I got some of this so I can see what will happen.”
Then I came up with Lisha Lee Cosmetics to expand on the success of Hair Insanity. I kind of did it for myself because I love nail polish. I’m not going to sell you something that I won’t wear myself. I wear nail polish, hair extensions, and lip gloss. These are things that I wear on a normal, day-to-day basis. Then you see other women out doing the exact same thing. I just basically took my business ideas from there.
Bethany “Queen B” Bell: I actually never wanted to be a hairdresser. It was something that I was never passionate about. I didn’t grow up braiding or coloring my girlfriends’ hair or anything like that. I wanted to go to school for fashion and changed my mind during my senior year.
My mom had a little heart attack. She was like, “This is my oldest daughter. I can’t spend 50 grand a year while she still can’t decide what she wants to do.” My mom was also getting married that year and where she was getting her hair done they had a school upstairs. So I went to check out the school and decided to try it out and it stuck.
I was only halfway through school and I had a position behind a chair. I built an awesome book and a salon out of the experience. About seven years into my career, I got really bored and needed to play around because I’m an arts kid. I decided to play around with my business of making hair art and ended up on Oxygen’s “Hair Battle Spectacular” (Season 2). From there I pushed myself even further to create the pieces that I have today.
MN: Lisha, did you have a start-up funds before creating your businesses?
LL: Honestly, I started my business in 10 minutes. I had no money. I had no job. I did all of this on my own, with no help, no boyfriend, no family, nobody but just me.
A few years ago, I got laid off and I thought “Oh my God, what am I gonna do?” Then the hair came in and I did my research. Every time I got money in my hand I would buy samples (of hair). I just put everything into the business.
I spent money on the logo, business cards, brochures, samples, bundles. Of course I was struggling. I was completely struggling. Then in 2012, my mom ended up with lung cancer. At that stage, I kind of put the business on hold for a little bit. For some strange reason in 2012, all of a sudden people just started ordering and I was just making it from there. I didn’t even have a website, only social media links. In 2012 I made $80,000 and in 2013, I made $120,000.