Hello World, Stay out of my space.

Everyone has a space bubble and everyone’s space bubble is a different size. Mine is quite large and I don’t take it well when people invade it. I hate it when people stand to close and I really hate when people get in my face.

I also tend to become easily overwhelmed in crowds of people. I can’t handle being surrounded by strangers, especially in tight close corners. I absolutely won’t go grocery shopping on a Saturday, because its way to crowded. I just feel drained of energy and can’t seem to shake it.

I don’t really need hugs from close or distant family and I’m very uncomfortable with receiving a kiss on the cheek. This doesn’t mean I don’t like to be touched. I just only embrace hugs from a select few people. There’s absolutely nothing better than a hug from my husband. He’s the only one I want any form of kisses from. I cuddle with my husband every night, and sometimes there’s nothing better than cuddling with him. I also love having pets to cuddle and hug.

When I was growing up the culture of my family and friends of family were to hug and kiss with every greeting. I really hated it, but people didn’t understand when I pulled away. Everyone loved to hug and kiss and be close. But, that was never a comfortable environment for me. The only thing I wanted to hug was a pet or the stuffed animal that I cuddled with every night. As I got older I realized I had to cave a little. I started to accept the hugs and just avoid the kisses. But, I’m still very stagnant in my ways. It doesn’t take a whole lot for me to feel uncomfortable. I then need distance from the source of my discomfort and space to be alone.

Recently, my space was invaded and I couldn’t escape the source of my discomfort. This guy thought it would be funny to wrap me up in tape, making it impossible for me to move. When I finally had the chance to get away, I just felt incredibly disoriented. I tried to process the situation in my mind and make sense of it, but I couldn’t. I was incredibly angry with this person and I knew they could see it all over my face as I walked out the door. This person is part of my extended family, so I’m left with the unfortunate discomfort of seeing them again. I have to forgive him, but I don’t know how to. Instead I choose to avoid him, because I can’t be around people who don’t respect my space and I’m not comfortable explaining to them the extent of my discomfort. I’ve read it’s best to cut people out of your life that bring negativity into your life. And being around this part of my family often has a negative influence on me. I try to give second chances, but at some point I just run out of second chances to give.

This is when I really realize how lucky I am to have a husband who never does anything to make me slightly uncomfortable. There’s no safer place for me then wrapped up in his embrace.

Why don’t people respect bubbles? Are people just so blinded by the fact that some people need more space? Or do they assume that is the only way to show friendship and affection? People need to open their eyes and study the world around them. If someone backs away, let them. Everyone’s bubble is different and some require a lot more space.

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The Dangerous Path of Unwelcome Advice and Stereotyping

It bothers me when I run across people who talk down to me or give me advice on something before they know anything about me. This is usually people who are at least 20 years older than me. They think they are handing over their gifts of wisdom when usually I just feel insulted. They assume because I’m young I don’t know how to navigate my way in the career world or I don’t know some hidden truths to a happy marriage. Maybe I’m an old soul or wise for my age. But, I wouldn’t give out advice on anything after first meeting someone. If someone asked me for advice I would give it, but only advice that would effectively answer their question. I don’t give out any advice on anything, unless I know the person is either seeking advice or I’m sure my advice will help them and they will appreciate it. Just because your older than someone doesn’t mean you’re wiser or smarter. You may be wiser about some aspects of life, but no matter what your age is you can learn something from anyone. Advice shouldn’t be given out so freely. You should only give advice to those who seek it. Otherwise, you shoImageuld know when it’s appreciated and when it’s not, because you risk insulting someone or making them feel inferior.

While in search of a new job I attended a networking group and I was the youngest member. I was targeted on more than one occasion due to stereotypes about the millennial generation. After I had been attending the group for several months there was a speaker who targeted me in the middle of her presentation. She was mentioning how everyone should be on LinkedIn and then specifically asked me if I was and after I replied “yes,” she said “good, because a lot of young people are not.” I was insulted. Not only did she stereotype me before knowing anything about me, she also failed to listen to my introduction about myself. While introducing myself earlier I mentioned I had experience with social media. Lastly, her stereotype was far from accurate because I know many young people who created LinkedIn profiles before a lot of the older generation. But, I was somehow lumped into the category of “most.” Nonetheless, most of the people in the group respected me and treated me as a peer.

I’ve had a LinkedIn profile for more than 7 years and after being unemployed and learning more about LinkedIn, it’s been continuously updated. In case you were wondering I didn’t ignore her comment. Instead, I chose to handle it in a mature way. I added her to my LinkedIn and in my message I thanked her for the presentation and told her that she shouldn’t be so quick to stereotype, because you can learn something from anyone. I think I also mentioned that I did a presentation on social media. It was a nice, professional message. She actually accepted my invite and later asked if she could help with my job search. I didn’t get an apology, but I didn’t need one. I just hope she learned that her comment was out of line and she shouldn’t stereotype people. She is a teacher of sorts so she needs to be skilled in the art of communication.

We can assume all sorts of things in our head about different groups of people, it’s sometimes hard not to. However, once we target a person and voice our thoughts out loud we have made an unfair assumption. If you know what they say about assuming: “when you assume, you make an ass out of you and me.” Stereotypes don’t make you sound smarter. In this scenario, it made it seem like she had an ego, as if she was trying to say her generation is better, smarter or knows more. When voicing a stereotype whether it’s accurate to the person or not it’s insulting. In life and in the world of networking were usually hoping to learn or gain something from the people we meet. If you’re just looking to spread your own knowledge, you might miss the opportunity to learn something valuable from someone else. You won’t build strong relationships, if you’re quick to stereotype or give unwelcome advice. Stereotyping just makes you look disrespectful and uneducated in the art of communication.

I wasn’t hesitant about giving advice to a few people much older than me that I was networking closely with. I didn’t want it to come across the wrong way. But, then I realized they were networking with me because they realized I could help them and they could help me. I then provided my advice and quickly learned how much it was appreciated.

You can learn something new from people of all ages and all walks of life. If you agree, hit “like.” If you receive unwelcome advice or someone stereotypes you feel free to send them a link to my post. Just kidding, maybe…

Lessons Learned From Being Unemployed

Becoming unemployed was actually a blessing in disguise. In the time I have been unemployed I’ve learned countless life-long lessons in both my professional and personal life. As I mentioned in my past blog “Who Am I” I learned more being unemployed than I did in my last two positions combined. Honestly, I didn’t really like my last job. But, when my position was eliminated I felt lost. My husband and I had to cut back on a lot of expenses. I continuously worried about the possibility of taking yet another job I would end up hating. My history of jobs I hate is just about every job I’ve held with the exception of an unpaid position and one temporary assignment.

I started off applying for anything with the word “marketing” in it and had many phone interviews. I had no second interviews. I had a couple in person interviews two of which I really wanted. But, they didn’t call back. When they didn’t call back I obsessed over how I wasn’t good enough and how I would never be good at interviewing.

After a few months I decided I needed to make some changes. I then started attending free seminars that I heard about on: networking, interviewing, LinkedIn and other topics. I joined a networking group for unemployed people and there were many great guest speakers. After a month I joined the committee and volunteered to write the newsletter. Here’s a list containing most of the things I’ve learned while unemployed:

  • I wasn’t alone and I wasn’t the only one who felt lost
  • In order to learn and grow I had to do things outside of my comfort zone
  • I could conduct informational interviews to learn more about my industry
  • I could conduct informational interviews to have my resume and portfolio viewed
  • By networking I could build my network and help others
  • By creating a to-do list for myself each day, I could stay motivated
  • In order to feel like accomplished something at the end of the day I needed to check off most of the things on my to-do list
  • How to identify my strengths and market them effectively
  • That I loved to write and that was an important part of marketing
  • To  view myself as a product and focus on what differentiates me from everyone else
  • It’s okay to take your time, it’s better to find something you love and can see yourself in long term then get a job you will end up hating
  • To write down my ideal culture and values and focus on companies that align with those
  • What a Master Mind group is and how it will be beneficial to me
  • To practice interview questions and research the most popular answers and come up with answers for “why I want to work there” and “why I’m the best candidate” ahead of time
  • To not rush through interview questions by reminding myself continuously to relax
  • To practice my elevator speech the typical: Tell Me about Yourself? question
  • To come up with questions specific to the company I’m applying at and ask as many as possible during the interview and at the end (I read an article saying it was the most important part of the interview)
  • To take the time to update and improve my LinkedIn (with an effective summary, by sharing articles, asking for recommendations, following: groups, companies and people
  • To take the time to post articles on Twitter under a professional profile and utilize it to find a position
  • To check LinkedIn for any people who might know someone at a company I’m applying at
  • To be confident in myself and my abilities; because my experience is unique
  • To continuously focus on: how I can help someone else!
  • To continuously learn something new every day, by reading articles, attending speaker presentations or networking with other people
  • To not follow any one person’s advice completely, to follow my own path and only follow advice that aligns with my own goals and level of comfort
  • To focus on my goals for the future instead of what will make me the most money
  • To never be complacent in a position, because the chance of being unemployed again is very likely, job security no longer exists
  • To read inspirational books in an effort to continuously grow myself as a professional
  • That I’m the only one in control of my professional career and if I don’t take action and do things I’m not comfortable with I’m never going to move forward in my life
  • To do something fun each and every day and workout to stay active
  • To be happy with my life despite being unemployed
  • Showing positivity when dealing with people who look down on me for being out of work and being able to explain how I’m learning and growing while unemployed

Most importantly I learned that my perception and the way I view things can hold me back from achieving my goals. But, by trying to maintain a positive attitude each and every day I’m more likely to accomplish my goals and land a position.

If you made it to the end of my list, I hope you learned at least one new thing. All the things I listed were helpful to me. This list is about helping other people. I’ve learned that whether you’re happily employed, unemployed, or a college graduate looking for a job you should continuously be working to learn something new as a professional outside of your job description. Whether that’s reading books, reading articles, watching videos, attending an event or taking a class.

You can learn something new from anyone no matter what age they are or what their background is. In the world we live in with all the advancements in technology it’s important to continuously learn new things as a professional.

Who Am I?

Who am I? Such a difficult question. It’s a question with an answer that will most likely change throughout my life journey.

I’m an artist, a writer, a friend and a wife. These things I’m certain of. My personality is creative, emotional, sensitive, caring, honest, determined, committed, adventurous and futuristic among other thingsImage

I’m in my mid to late 20’s and I live in the United States. You can refer to me as Jen. I won’t disclose my full name because I’m a private person and a lot of people in my life think they really know me, but don’t. Being an INFJ personality type, introvert and highly sensitive person, doesn’t exactly make life easy for me. I can hide a lot of these traits pretty well though since I’ve had years of practice. However, when it comes down to finding a job and impressing strangers for a job interview my skills are lacking. Even worse is finding a job that pays well and allows me to be creative and emotionally connect with my work. I’m continuously searching for meaning in my life and an opportunity to make a significant contribution to this world.

I have been unemployed for over 6 months. But, I just recently landed a part time position. I have a lot of determination, but due to the economy competition for a job has been tough. Since I’ve graduated from college I have gone from one job to the next without the time to figure out what I really want.

I graduated with a degree in Business and a concentration in Marketing and Advertising. People tell me all the time how tough it is to find a job in marketing. However, it’s better than my former career choice to be an industrial designer which I thought was a chance to be an inventor of sorts. Honestly, I would have been a starving artist. It would have been smarter for me to pursue a career in graphic design, if anything in art. I thought about majoring in writing but I thought a position in creative writing would be tough to find. Marketing allows me to be creative and use my skills in writing. Marketing is also an opportunity for me to do a multitude of tasks which I absolutely NEED because I’m easily bored.

It’s challenging for me to find a position because I feel like I need a product or service I can connect with emotionally. I want to create marketing that has an emotional impact on a person (laughter, sadness, anger, joy…). I think my ultimate goal is to work for a nonprofit. But, I’ve also found an interest in freelance writing. Now that I’m at least working part time I have time to consider whether I want to do consulting, freelance writing or obtain another part time position.

I’ve learned more being unemployed than I have in my last two jobs combined. It’s made a huge difference on how I view things. It’s helped me to figure out what I want to do and has helped me to continuously move forward in my life. My next post will be about my experiences and all the things I have learned being unemployed.

Finding Peace in a Crowded World

I walk out my door and down two flights of stairs and walk not even a mile before I come across a hidden entrance with a small trail leading into my sanctuary of peace. I look up at the trees towering over me and I feel a sense of calmness come over me. It does not matter what’s happening in my life or what problems I’m faced with because at this very moment I’m one with nature.

ImageThree trails lay out in front of me and the choice is mine on what path to take. I take the path leading to a secret trail known to very few people. No one is around and the only sounds I hear are nature. I can see for miles nothing but trees, grass and the dirt trail in front of me. I follow the path for quite some time until it splits and I take again the path less traveled. I follow it to an opening and I’m standing on a hill top looking out at the lake. The scenery is breath taking and I feel like it’s all mine because I’m completely alone. I’m alone with my thoughts and I’m alone with nature. I feel complete tranquility.

I leave all my worries behind and for just this short time I’m at peace with the world and completely satisfied with myself. I soak up the sun and allow myself to completely relax. The air is warm, I’m alone but don’t feel lonely and I have the strength to hike for miles. I’m surrounded by the beauty of nature and for a moment I feel I’m in utopia.

At some point I realize I have to go back. But, there’s always tomorrow and I hope for yet another warm and beautiful day. My sanctuary of peace is right in my backyard, not even a mile away.

The picture on my background is a picture I took from those hiking trails. I have been on a few other hiking trails, but none of them made me feel the same way. I’m not sure if it’s because they were right in my backyard or because of their lakes, secret trails or lack of tourists. Perhaps it was because I felt that they were mine and that I knew my way around them better than anyone else.

I have moved since then and it’s been a year since I have gone back there. I miss them. I’m thinking of them now because I can’t think of a more perfect place to sit down and write. Its winter now and it’s been snowing heavily. I feel a bit empty inside because I love being outside. But, I hate the cold and lately the temperatures have been below zero. I go for walks around my neighborhood but it’s not the same; the noisy cars, the people, the lack of change in the scenery and uninteresting paths to take. There’s nothing better than my trails.

I will go back there though, after the snow melts and it’s warm again. I anxiously await the opportunity to be one with nature once again. 

Do you have a peaceful place where you go to be alone? Sometimes I wished I lived some place warmer where I could walk to a secluded beach and sit in the sand and watch the sunset. 

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Being Happy With Your Physical Appearance

I’m happy with the way I look even though there’s things I would change if I could. I know what things I have control over and what things I don’t. I accept the fact that I have short legs, kind of big ears and dark eyes. I can wear heels to look and feel taller, use my hair to cover my ears and use makeup to lighten my eyes.

When I was a kid I hated my hair because it was stick thin and my big ears would pop out, because I couldn’t hide them and I was picked on. Then, I got a perm and I looked absolutely ridiculous. Finally my hair got thicker and I got smarter. I started taking showers in the morning, because I realized my hair got greasy at night. I also started layering my hair and using hair mousse.

When I was in high school I often wished I was thinner, because all my closest friends were thinner than me. I look back at the photos of me and I have to laugh at myself for thinking that way. I was stick thin back then and the only reason I did not think so was because I hung out with people with extremely high metabolisms. They don’t easily gain weight and don’t have the curves I do. I was also involved in sports  so I was definitely in great shape.

Once I went to college I started eating worse, working out rarely and stressing more often. I gained a bunch of weight and did not even realize it. By the time I figured it out I just felt stuck. I had so many responsibilities and no time to work out or money to eat healthy. When I was home my parents would comment on how I gained weight. Thinking somehow that would help! Once I graduated and moved back home I was angry with myself. That year I bought the treadmill I wanted since middle school. But, I still could not lose weight. Finally I moved out and later signed up for weight watchers. With less stress, a treadmill, hiking trails and the time and money to eat healthy I was able to lose weight.

What I have found is there are 4 things you need to lose weight: Time, Motivation, Resources and Knowledge. I have found with just one thing missing from this equation it’s almost impossible to lose weight. The resources are healthy food and any items you need for your workout. For me Weight Watchers was a resource I needed. I was only a member for a month or two and then I took everything I needed from it and continued it without paying. I learned four very important things about myself when trying to lose weight: I love eating a variety of foods and can’t stand restrictions, I eat unhealthy when I’m stressed, I lose weight evenly throughout my body and I’m easily bored by workouts. Knowing I hate being restricted and with Weight Watchers I did not have to give up and foods was the knowledge I needed. It also pushed me to be more active because I knew I could eat more unhealthy food if I worked out. I also learned to eat less. To keep myself from getting bored I work out on my treadmill and watch TV and hike so I have beautiful scenery to look at.
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I still want to lose weight, but 90% of the time I’m actually really happy with my body so the key ingredient of motivation is not really there. But, I have the resources, time and knowledge of what works best for me. I have curves and I have learned to love them. I’m healthy, I’m not over weight and I have pretty much a flat stomach. I like the fact that I lose weight evenly throughout my body.

Most importantly I don’t care what anyone thinks! I don’t want to hear what people think of my body, unless it’s my husband telling me I look beautiful. I don’t need or want people to tell me “oh I see you lost weight.” I almost take that as an insult. “Oh, I’m sorry was there something wrong with my body before I lost all this weight?” and then you hear people say “you look anorexic” or “your fat.” I’m sorry, if I’m hurting your vision why don’t you just turn around and walk the other way? Because, guess what? I’m not going to change based on what someone else says. I’m going to lose weight for myself and if I haven’t done it yet, it’s because I either lack the resources, the knowledge of how to, the time or maybe the motivation. Perhaps I think I look beautiful just the way I am. Also, when you call someone anorexic, they might be dealing with a health issue that they’re well aware of.

Whether you’re happy or unhappy with your body, you should not comment on what’s wrong with others. You should not compare yourself to others and you should not assume that what works for someone else will work for you. Gain the knowledge on what will work for you and get the resources you need. If you’re motivated then you should be able to find time even if it’s just a 30 minute walk every day.

I think the only time when it’s appropriate to comment on someone else’s body is when they straight out ask for your opinion or your close to them and sincerely worried about their health. Even then there’s better ways to go about it.

I want to lose a bit more weight, but I don’t want to be stick thin, I like my curves. But, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with my body when I was stick thin or my friend’s bodies who have high metabolisms. We just have to be happy with ourselves and find people who like us the way we are.

I don’t need society’s approval on the way I look and either do you! I love to wear makeup every day and put on jewelry. On days I don’t I almost feel a bit lazy and have a lower self-esteem. I just feel confident and happier when I feel pretty on the outside. That’s not the same for everyone. Some might feel prettier without makeup. But, for me I do what makes me feel good. But, sometimes dress up extra nice for my husband.

Embrace that your beautiful in your own special way and don’t listen to what others have to say. If your not happy with yourself make a change. But, look in the mirror and find some beauty in yourself. I’m sure there’s some things you wouldn’t want to change.