After switching your tassel to the appropriate side, you feel a sigh of relief move within your body. You have finally gotten the degree your parents wished for you to have and career counselors helped you get. You are waking up the next day after your graduation high, reality sets in. It would be best if you found a job. Hopefully, you networked and collected valuable numbers to use at a further date, or you've landed an internship at a top tier company. Or, you could be the student who didn't bother to get the extra help and decided to follow your path.
Whatever choice you made, you will encounter a job or a position that isn't the best, but you heard the advice of "getting your foot in the door". Fast-forward to three years later, and you are still in the same position awaiting to get your foot in the door. Before you have a panic attack, I would like to mention that it isn't your fault. You're experiencing what most people experience every day. With that, I blame the companies who have failed their employees.
When the economy came crashing down in 2008, it was tough for anyone to find a job. No matter what degree you had, it was a strong possibility that you wouldn't get paid what you're worth. If you were a new graduate, I'm sure you've hated reading the terms "experience required or experience preferred". It's impossible to gain the experience you need to get the job you want when companies aren't willing to take a risk on you and give you a chance.
As a student or graduate, you've done your part; you got the grades and completed the amount of free time to dedicate yourself to an internship.
As I've gotten into the groove of my career, I'm noticing a trend that I am open and willing to share in hopes to bring a different perspective. Companies are no longer grooming their employees to get promoted. They aren't challenging or encouraging their employees to reach their full potential. For that, I find it shameful. Some of the top Fortune 500 companies don't have a clear-cut training program for their employees, and cross-training is now an afterthought. No matter how many "meetings" you have with your supervisor or manager about your personal goals, it's a 100% possibility that a follow-through on that plan won't even get started.
Departments agree to take on more work and hiring less, leaving the current employees overworked. As you sit at your desk and look at the clock, you tend to wonder if it was worth it. Was the blood, sweat and tears to earn that degree to get the job that you didn't want but desperately needed worth it? After moving on to your fifth job, you notice the same trend. You sit and wonder what exactly you are going to do. You can't pay back your student loans with a minimum wage job.
So, I've created five ways that would help you get in, through, and open the door you wish to desire.
1.Use Your Annual Reviews To Your Advantage
Before going in to meet with your manager about your yearly evaluation, they will email questions about the past year. They want to know your perspective of your performance, and they will give their view of your return. During that meeting, you and your manager will compare and contrast your responses. There will be a section that says, "Goals". Having set goals allows you to discuss the goals in which you want to achieve. It puts your manager in the hot seat and forced to provide you with an explanation.
What better way to learn a new position than to ask about the job. Even if you know how to complete the duties, ask to show that you are more than interested in learning. Continue to ask questions until they give you a trial run on the position you want. Once that opportunity presents itself, show up and show out. If you make a mistake, acknowledge the error immediately. People admire integrity.
3.Work After Work
For most, sometimes asking questions and meeting with your manager isn't enough. Sometimes it's best to get the outside help that you need to advance your career. If your position has a certification, then it would be best to study and take the test. If your profession requires additional classes or refresher course, then it would be best to get a certificate of completion. If your position affiliates with any updated news and current events, then prepare for those new changes to your advantage. If studying for your certification isn't in your view, think about ways to improve your position. Sometimes it can be as simple as creating a training manual or studying the software that you use to make sure you are doing your work efficiently. See if your company is having any seminars and attend those. Many companies will offer to pay for your tuition if it's related to your current position.
4.Create An Emergency Fund
The majority of working adults today don't aspire to be at a company for 30+ years. In the 21st century, that has become a rarity. If you ever get the urge to quit or you feel like your position is on the line, it's best to save at least six months of your expenses in an emergency fund. Sometimes stepping away from a company to get the answers you need are best. If you aren't the best at saving, use your EAP benefits through your company to see if they have financial advisors to help guide you to get your savings started.
5.Find A New Job
If you did everything in your power to improve and climb up the ladder, then maybe it's time to consider your options. IF you don't want to completely start new, it's best to see if any internal positions are available. Seek out a letter of recommendation from one of your co-workers or use them as a reference. Evaluate the skills that you have already and see how they can be used to your advantage when looking for a new position or a new job. Tweak your resume to reflect that. If all else fails, maybe it's time to look deep within yourself and ask if this is a career you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life. Sometimes the worst situation can turn into something more rewarding if you can turn it into a business venture. There are endless inspirational stories of individuals who took that leap of faith and followed their true passion.
I've been in the healthcare industry for five or more years and am currently on my third company. I've met and learned so many things. If I could give any advice to any current graduate or graduates who just got hired, I would say the first three months of any job are the most vital. The company provides you a probationary period to see if you are a good fit within the department and the company. I would suggest that you the employee give the company a mental probationary period. Ask your co-workers questions about their work history or if they received any promotions within the last six months. It's a perfect time to pick their brain and introduce yourself to the higher-ups. Give a two- to three-minute pitch on who you are and what goals you want to achieve. If you leave a lasting impression, those higher-ups will never forget you. Keep a log of your accomplishments. Your task is to convince your supervisor or manager why you qualify for a promotion.
The worst thing you can do is sit and say nothing. You will become that individual who will be stuck in that position asking yourself, 'Why me?'
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
Working Twice As Hard Doesn't Work
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Writer, Empath, Listener, Self Improver, and a motivational speaker to her homegirls Teisha LeShea currently resides in California who loves to add fifteen million items to her Amazon cart. She is passionate about wellness, spiritual improvement, leveling up, and setting up twice a month therapy appointments. She writes with you in mind. Her listicle and personal stories will inspire you to dig deep within yourself to be a better you. You can follow her on Instagram @teisha.leshea and & @tl_teisha.leshea
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What Are Intrusive Thoughts & How Do We Manage Them?
TW: some depictions of intrusive thoughts may be disturbing for readers.
Have you ever caught your mind drifting off to entertain the most disturbing scenarios imaginable? Maybe you can’t stop thinking of all the ways a loved one could pass away or worrying that you left every candle lit in your apartment to which you’d return to a home in ruins. If distressing ruminations like these have crossed your mind, you may be experiencing an intrusive thought.
What Are Intrusive Thoughts?
Intrusive thoughts are unwanted or distressing thoughts, images, or impulses that pop into your mind without your control or consent. These thoughts can be repetitive, unsettling, or even violent in nature, and can cause anxiety and frustration for those who experience them.
“Generally they're unwanted thoughts that come up in our head that interrupt what we're doing or thinking, and can feel very foreign,” says Adia Gooden, PhD, licensed clinical psychologist and host of the Unconditionally Worthy podcast. “It’s any thought that intrudes or interrupts what you are doing. They can be distressing and upsetting for us because it feels like we are not in control of them, and they're coming up out of nowhere and aren’t in line with how you normally think.”
What Causes Intrusive Thoughts?
Certain trauma or stress can contribute to the development of intrusive thoughts, so having a challenging experience from the past or current life situations may trigger them to form. “An intrusive thought could come in the form of a flashback, image, or a thought about something that's happened to you,” Dr. Gooden tells xoNecole. “When it gets to the point where you feel like you can't function or make clear decisions, that's when intrusive thoughts become really challenging.”
While some of the 1 billion videos found under the #intrusivethoughts hashtag on TikTok would lead you to believe that these thoughts are nothing more than casual displays of our imagination going untamed. Intrusive thoughts are more than sticking your hand in a soap dispenser, wanting to cut all your hair off at 3 a.m., or having a random impulse to eat fake bread in public.
The Anxiety & Depression Association of America reports that approximately six million individuals, equating to roughly two percent of the American population, encounter intrusive thoughts. Intrusive thoughts are often linked with obsessive-compulsive disorders, but they can also manifest in individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or anxiety.
Examples of Common Intrusive Thoughts
Because of the explicit nature of intrusive thoughts, they tend to cause shame and internal conflict in those who experience them. Although these thoughts can differ from person to person, these ideation can consist of:
- Violent or aggressive thoughts towards oneself or others, such as harming or killing someone;
- Sexual thoughts that are unwanted or inappropriate;
- Repetitive thoughts, such as a song or a phrase that keeps repeating in your mind;
- Contamination or germ-related thoughts or the fear of contamination and getting sick;
- Religious or blasphemous thoughts, such as questioning one's faith or having thoughts that go against religious beliefs;
- Doubts or uncertainty about one's own actions or decisions, such as fear of making a mistake or fear of not doing something right.
Intrusive Thoughts and OCD
That’s why Dr. Gooden encourages everyone to understand the difference between our fleeting thoughts and impulses and true, intrusive thoughts. “What level of distress does it cause and is it something you would never consider,” she says. “If you're finding that these thoughts are getting in the way of you living your life and that you're controlled by the thoughts, those are some signs that it would be good to get some support in navigating it.”
She also emphasizes the importance of understanding that while we may not always have control over our thoughts, we can control our behavior. “On TikTok, people are sort of blaming intrusive thoughts on their behavior, and our behavior is always a choice,” she says. “If we are in our right mind and we're not having a psychotic episode, our behavior is our choice — we are not obligated to follow any given thought that we have.”
Are Intrusive Thoughts Normal?
With intrusive thoughts, it’s natural to question whether these thoughts are “normal” to have. However, these thoughts are not meant to define who you are as a person but simply indicate that you have a functioning human mind with automated thoughts that you, or any of us, can’t control. These thoughts may come, but they don’t have to be acted upon, nor do they define who you are.
“I've worked with clients in the past who say, ‘Why am I thinking these things? What's wrong with me?’ But if you're not acting on the thought, then it's probably not a huge issue,” Dr. Gooden says. “If you are thinking a harmful thought towards yourself or someone else and you are making plans to act on that thought, then yes, we need to do something about it.”
How To Manage Intrusive Thoughts
If you are struggling with managing unwanted thoughts, Dr. Aida suggests taking these tips to help manage your mindset when they occur:
- "Recognize that it's a thought and thoughts are just thoughts. We often put a little bit too much weight on our thoughts, and that can create a lot of distress. But remember that thoughts are not facts."
- "Having a thought that's disturbing or upsetting doesn't make you a bad person, and it doesn't mean that you are suffering from a mental illness."
- "Sometimes the best thing you can do is say, 'Huh, that was an interesting thought. I'm going to let that go. That thought is not helpful for me right now."
- "Ask yourself: is this helpful? Is it helpful for me to buy into this thought and believe this thought? Asking that question can be really helpful because we are not at the mercy of our thoughts. If it's not helpful, you can let it go."
Intrusive thoughts can feel bizarre and foreign when they come up, but they aren't inherently "bad." Our minds can sometimes be filled with random and inappropriate thoughts, but that's what our stream of consciousness does: it thinks. Fortunately, we can release those thoughts at any moment; you don't have to follow through with them.
And ultimately, not every TikTok diagnosis is one that we should label ourselves with.
"It's important for people to acknowledge what they're experiencing but not run too quickly to diagnose themselves with some mental illness or disorder," Dr. Gooden advises. "It ends with confusion, and we miss the opportunity to understand the people who really do have that mental health challenge."
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