Tag Archives: 20’s

I’m Tired of People Saying I Need Practical Career Goals

13 Jun

Dream8Follow My Dreams… Or Nah?

Since I’m trying out this whole “responsible adult” thing, I’ve been reading all these career advice articles for young adults with titles like “20 Things You Need to Accept in Your 20’s,” and “Things They Don’t Tell You About Your 20’s.”

The recurring theme in most of them: Life is shitty, student loans will suck you dry, and there are hardly any jobs out there so you should settle for whatever job you can scrounge.

Oh, Thanks y’all. I feel pretty encouraged. -__-

So, follow my dreams… Or nah?

 My life goals are, by most people’s standards, very impractical— I’m like Lynn from my favorite throwback show Girlfriends: I have several passions I want to pursue, I do all I can to avoid becoming a corporate slave, and if I could, I would stay in school for a while and get a few master’s degrees.

While some people can (or have to) put aside their life goals, that is simply not an option for me. I cannot function without writing. I literally write for my health—for now. Somewhere down the road, there are a few Oprah’s Book Club novels published with my name on the cover, I’ll have several by-lines in my favorite publications, and I’ll eventually step into the title of Editor and Chief of something fantastic.

But for now, I’m living on a blog and a dream.

For us dreamers, it’s easy to get discouraged—especially in a society where we expect everyone to make “practical” decisions and get “sensible” jobs. It’s difficult to hold on to your goals when people say that you’re too much of an idealist, that you won’t be able to support yourself, and that your dreams are hobbies, not careers. Sometimes, I even say those things to myself.

But “practical” doesn’t always work when idealists feel called to do creative work. And in answering that calling, we have to be resilient against the Naysayers and negativity.

Dream1So I created a 7-point list of things I’ve committed to doing in order stay on the right path of my vocation.

  • Stop calling my dreams “impractical.” For me, impractical can sometimes be a synonym for impossible. I gotta let the word go before I can fully accept that I’ll be successful. Instead, I’ll assume that under the right conditions, all of my goals are possible.
  • Look at all of the success stories of other people. If other people have done it, I can do it too. I have an editor friend over at Ms. Magazine in her early 20’s and loving her dream job. One of my favorite bloggers financially supports his family of 6 using his blog. Maya Angelou’s life journey, where she went from sex worker to waitress, to dancer, to actress, to award-winning author, is nothing short of amazing. These awesome examples give me hope.
  • Dream bigger. My friends often come up with the coolest ideas for my blog and my career. I usually think their ideas are too hard to accomplish, but I quickly realize that it isn’t that they are too hard—it’s just that I don’t believe I can do them. Thinking about all of their ideas I mentally shot down, I realize that I need to break out of my “I cant” prison and believe in myself a little more.
  • Keep making moves toward reaching the goals. I’m committing to writing more often (so look out for my posts y’all) and pitching to publications as often as I can.

Dream6

  • Celebrate small victories. I treat myself to something every time I publish an article. I celebrate when my blog stats are higher than usual. These accomplishments bring me closer to my ultimate goal—so I’ll drink to that 😉Dream5
  • Support other people’s dreams. What goes around definitely comes back around. So I’ve began supporting other writers and artists in whatever ways I can. Sometimes just showing up for people goes a long way.
  • Talk to God. My spiritual foundation is what constantly rejuvenates my desire to write. Sometimes prayer and my church music really get me through difficult days when I’m questioning my calling. Thank God!

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If you need a little more motivation, check out this article from the Daily Muse:
10 Quotes That’ll Inspire You to Dream Big

Got any advice for me? What do you do to stay on you path to reach your vocation?

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How to Survive Long-Term Unemployment

26 Mar

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To be honest y’all, I don’t know if I’m completely qualified to write this article. My 5-month job hunt has got me holding on to my sanity by my last pinkie finger. And it’s slipping off quickly.

So this won’t be one of those corny, “Hold on a little longer. You can do it” type articles. Cuz right now I’m going through it.

After sending in tons of applications only to find an empty inbox the next day, and repeating that routine day after day, I find myself constantly frustrated, often frowning, and sometimes on the brink of tears. Unemployment, under-employment, and seemingly never-ending job hunts can really fuck with your self-esteem. So if you’re like me, struggling to keep it together mentally–try a few of these tips:

1. Find comfort in a few good friends. When I’m in the thick of my job hunting for the day, and I’m pissed off because insert-company’s-name-here’s application takes an hour to complete, good conversation is exactly what I need. Talking to them about totally unrelated subjects is quite healing. And friends are always helpful when you need to vent.

2. Vent when you need too. If you’re angry, yell at the wall. Curse as much as you need to. Call a friend and tell them your frustrations. No need to hold it in. But don’t vent too much. If you’re harping on negative things, you’ll be stuck in that feeling the whole day. So when you do need to vent or complain, give yourself a time limit and don’t go over it.

3. Exercise regularly. Trust me–if you’re not doing this, you should. I’ve gotten so bored from filling out applications that I body has has become sluggish 24-7. I feel overslept from just sitting at my desk. It’s quite awful, and I haven’t figured out how to get rid of the feeling (I’m beyond the point of no return…running doesn’t help me). But exercise might save the rest of you from the sluggish doom.

4. If you pray, pray often. (If not, skip over this section. I’m not here to convert you to anything). God and I have had some serious chats about my future. And though I haven’t figured it all out yet, reminding myself that God is supporting me and has big plans is very comforting. And as my preacher always says, “You don’t need to tell God about your big problems, you need to tell your problems about your Big God.” (Oh, and while you’re at it, add me to your prayer list…k, thanks).

5. Find something that’ll make you laugh hard. Modern Family has been my saving grace. Watch some comedians on Youtube. Have a “Best Vines” marathon. Laughing might be exactly what you need.

6. Don’t take it personally. If you’re putting your best foot forward and applying for jobs whenever you can, then it’s not your fault. Don’t blame yourself. Lots of people are in the same position.

7. Take the Naomi Campbell approach. If you ever watch an interview with Naomi Campbell, you can tell that she is very aware that she is Naomi Campbell, supermodel diva with an impressive and long-lasting career. She’s a boss and she knows it.

Sometimes, we have to be confident like Naomi and remind ourselves of how talented we are.

Here’s my reminder for myself when I’m not feeling that great: I’m Ritashae Collins. I’m a talented writer. I’ve been published in 9 different places, print and online. My writing makes people think and change. People tweet at me with quotes from my writing that inspire them. I’m fucking quoteable! I’m highly-qualified for the positions I’ve applied for and any company that passes over my resume (can suck it) has lost out on an awesome candidate.

I suggest you create your own mini speech to remind yourself just how awesome you are.

I even created a pick-me-up meme: UE SHAE @

8. Don’t give up hope. I know I said I wouldn’t be cheezy but this is real: having hope means that you still believe in yourself. Once you give that up, you may never get a job.

Good Luck

Top 20 Things You Must Do in Your Twenties

28 Aug

21 plus2

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be grown. I’ve recently graduated from college, picked out grad schools to apply for, and began seriously thinking about what I want to do with my life. Meanwhile, everyone on my Facebook newsfeed seems to be getting married, having children, or traveling the world. It’s kind of overwhelming. My best friend recently made a list of things she wanted to do now that she’s graduated from college. So now that I’ve supposedly entered “the real world” and am considered an ADULT (even though I don’t feel like one), I’ve wanted to create a checklist for Twenty-Somethings. So I asked many women (and a few men), ages 21-82, what they think women should do in their twenties.

I originally compiled this list for women; however, the majority of these things work for men too.

  1. Introduce yourself to the HOTTEST guy at the bar, embarrass yourself and not care, do something unexpected.  Nearly everyone I interviewed suggested that 20 Somethings should do bold things because people grow when they ditch their security blankets and take on daring adventures.
  2. Learn to be assertive. This is a must. For those who have a hard time, when you find yourself in situation where you need to be assertive, think of someone assertive and ask yourself: what would so-and-so do/say?
  3. Pay for someone else’ meal or coffee. Get in the habit of giving and committing random acts of kindness. Things like paying for someone really makes a person’s day.
  4. Find a cause to support. 
  5. Focus on your strengths. I recently read a book called Strength Finder, which discussed how people become so obsessed with their weaknesses that they forget to focus on their strengths. However, learning to fully use your strengths can advance your career and help in your business and personal relationships.
  6. Start a savings account that you don’t touch. Maybe in the future that account will help pay for your first house.
  7. Take fashion risks. Wear blue lipstick, mixed prints, and bright colors. Here’s some ideas if you need a few.
  8. Unlearn the idea they teach in sappy romantic comedies: that you need a man. It’s a lie—you don’t need a significant other to be complete.
  9. Learn to cut people out of your life. Every freind is not a good friend. The one’s that aren’t happy about your success—gotta go!
  10. Get to know your body so you stay healthy throughout your lifetime. Learn to do self breast-exams. Get your “Oops Oh My” on (Singer Tweet reference—look it up if you don’t know).
  11. Find a mentor or several. They’ve been where you’ve are and can really help you out. My mentors have helped me get writing jobs, talked to me about grad school, and given me necessary spiritual guidance.
  12. Live on your own. One of my mentors suggested this because she says some women go straight from their parent’s house to living with their spouse. Yet, if (God forbid) your spouse dies or if you get a divorce—you need to know how to live on your own.
  13. Learn to embrace change.
  14. Become a top chef. I’m not saying this to be sexist.  A girl’s gotta eat! Everyone should learn to feed themselves. Dining in is much cheaper and often healthier than eating out.
  15. Take a self-defense class.
  16. Learn to negotiate your salary.
  17. Take some time to yourself every now and then. Time for self-care and evaluation can be rejuvenating.
  18. Ask someone out. Most people say that a man should always pursue and the women should wait until they are asked. However, that leaves us women somewhat powerless and always waiting. Yet, if you take matters into your own hands and go after what you want, you might just get the guy (or woman, whatever your preference). Be bold and assertive!
  19. Travel Almost everyone I interviewed said traveling should be on the list because 20 Somethings aren’t as tied down to jobs, families, and kids as older adults.
  20. Talk to people that have different values from your own on a regular basis. This will help you to understand others that come from different backgrounds and it will open your mind.

Okay, I lied…I couldn’t keep it down to 20, so here are a few others you might enjoy:

Try a new hairstyle Here are some ideas.

Develop a consistent exercise routine

Eat whatever the hell you want in moderation, of course.

Take fun classes like capoeira, belly dancing, sculpting, or whatever you like.

Date a lot of people

Go to the movies by yourself. Why are people so afraid of doing that?

Get over a few irrational fears

Keep Reading! Don’t stop reading now that you’re done with school. Maybe now you can get around to those books you actually want to read.

Volunteer

Enjoy your hobbies

Feel free to add to this list! If you think I left out something major, post it in the comment section and I’ll add it in with your name (or anonymously if you’d prefer that too).

*Shout to my awesome best friend Aliya for inspiring this post! And special thanks to everyone who contributed (including Sharon, Ash, Chris, Vangie, fam in Chicago).

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