After college, I had the 'Becoming A Workforce Drone' Starter Pack equipped with a leather portfolio, a silver business card holder, and a bunch of boring blazers and statement necklaces. I was ready to wow all of the hiring managers. The only problem was, I didn't know myself very well.
As a result, I learned how to look and speak the part of someone I never wanted to be. At the time, I was proud of this. Interview after interview found me posturing, awaiting nods of approval. However, it would take a series of burnouts in positions that were never for me to find myself.
Interviewing eventually became less soul-sucking, intimidating, and audition-y but only after I learned a few lessons:
All Experience Is Rainwater
Rain is said to be the purest water to drink and the best choice for growing healthy crops. We don't necessarily enjoy rainy days, but they're good for us. Your life - the good, the bad, and the ugly - is rainwater.
The internships taught you which career paths suited you - or didn't. The difficult professors taught you how to advocate for yourself. The entry-level job taught you humility, process, and procedure. Being laid off taught you the importance of financial soundness. Being promoted showed you that hard work does have its rewards.
When you step into interviews or enter new rooms, toss the generic answers and consider your rainwater. What unique experience(s) can you share?
What You Don't Want Can Lead To What You Do
My resume is quite diverse because for the better part of my career, I was searching for significance and denying what I really wanted to do. So I settled for comfort in jobs that didn't really fulfill me. Looking back, I can see how each job and career move built my confidence to figure myself out and get to work on becoming the woman I wanted to be. I also picked up invaluable skills along the way.
The wrong thing made me so uncomfortable, I had no choice but to sprint toward the right thing.
Titles Are Only As Important As You Make Them
I was the girl who couldn't wait to get my business card at any new job. I wanted the clout more than I enjoyed most of those positions. Desperation for significance with little commitment to preparation and purpose made me value a title more than myself.
I know, it's not the sexy career talk we like but it's necessary. Some people without senior titles do the work of senior administrators and more. Some senior administrators struggle to work a copy machine. Titles are just things.
They don't define you. Learn what you need to learn to be who you want to be. Get clear on who you are and what you bring - that's your value and it will promote you in due time.
A Good Interview Is A Conversation
My last interview was one of the most freeing experiences of my life. The hiring director and I had a conversation framed by my diverse work experience and what led me to the arts. I told a story of being extreme burnt out from pursuing what was not meant for me and she immediately connected. I asked questions to be sure it was a fit for me and we ended the interview with a job offer.
We're human and we connect through storytelling and authenticity. If you don't know your story, you will rehearse what sounds good and never connect. Interviewers are humans. Talk to them, not through them.
I don't try to be who they want anymore. I show up honestly.
If you show up as your most authentic self, share who you are and what you bring and it is not well-received, then you know that place is not for you. This is true of life, not just job interviews. Be grateful that there is now more room for the right opportunity to come to you.
Do not shrink to fit in. Chin up. Go get it.
Featured image by Getty Images
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
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Feature image by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Religion of Sports