We all know that the pandemic has been an eye-opener for professionals forced to work from home, isolate, and now, deal with the back-to-office mania. In fact, research by insurance giant Prudential has found that 1 in 4 workers are looking toward new career horizons, and another recent survey of professionals ages 18-24 found that 66% have felt stuck in their careers since the pandemic began.
With realizations that come from new challenges, there's renewal, and with renewal there's the opportunity to get into new boss moves. And, per usual, we've got our xoNecole tribe covered with the tea on how to change your career and walk into the abundance you deserve.
1. Get real about what you really hate: the job or the career path itself.
Before you send that resignation email, stop selling that product, or move out of town to start over, it's always a good idea to take account of your why. Write down the pros and cons of your current career and evaluate whether you're just tired of your current situation or whether you need to throw the whole career away.
Use a simple two-column method (with a space for pros on one side and cons on the other) and be totally honest with yourself. Then, evaluate whether the things you like and dislike about the work you do apply to just the job or the profession as a whole.
For example, my first job out of college was working as a copy editor at a small newspaper owned by a large publisher. I surely didn't get a journalism degree to be a copy editor. I wanted bylines and notoriety, and copy editors typically sat in an office all day, staring at copy, making corrections, and designing news pages. I took the gig because I had a mentor who advised me to try it, and many of my classmates—who only applied for the writing and newscaster openings—found themselves unemployed for longer than I could stomach. I eventually found that I hated being far away from my family and I felt like the slow, conservative culture in the small town where the newsroom was located was a horrible fit for me.
On the flip side, I loved my coworkers, enjoyed being challenged, and was offered a blog for the newspaper's website, which helped diversify my duties and scratch my writing itch. When I was ready to leave, I strategized for the opportunity for upward mobility (i.e. working at said large publisher's headquarters). I stuck it out, advanced, and after two years, ended up getting hired at the headquarters... in New York. I found that I loved all aspects of journalism and that it wasn't the nature of the job, but the environment. I also got to be in the epicenter of my industry, eventually moved on to magazine writing and editing, and the rest is history.
2. Dip your toe in new waters before taking the leap.
I know, I know. If you're already juggling a demanding day job, how can you find the time to take on more? Well, sis, think outside the box on this one. Your current job might have opportunities to collaborate or lead projects with other departments, allowing you to really flex other passions and skills that have all but died in your current role.
Have coffee dates or virtual chats with coworkers who work in departments that are doing things you might be interested in or might allow you to tap into other aspirations. This is a great way to test out a new "career" without actually leaving your company or totally reinventing the wheel.
I'm one of those "geriatric millennials" who has always been fascinated by the Internet and what can be done online. (My brother's a computer geek and engineer, so I grew up intrigued and wowed by the things he could do or create.) I started working in digital media when the whole concept was super-new and "risky" for publishing houses. Print was king back then (early 2000s sis. Don't try me!). I'd volunteer, as a print editor, to take on website editing and writing that nobody else had the time (or desire) to bother with. Doing so allowed me to become somewhat of a tech geek, expand my knowledge of SEO, ad sales, traffic, video production, and website design.
I also got to work with IT professionals and tech disruptors who were already ahead of the game in that arena. In addition, I got promoted a tad quicker than my peers, becoming a manager before 30. While it didn't lead to a total career change to become a bonafide app builder or full-time blogger (which I actually regret because I missed the money boat on that one), it did enhance my experience at work and kept those nasty feelings of stagnation at bay.
Other great ways to test the waters of a new career: Volunteer for a role at an organization, take some courses on subjects related to your dream career, add just one or two new services of products to your offerings to see how they do with clients or customers, or start a part-time side hustle doing whatever that future dream gig entails.
3. Take an assessment.
Don't shake your head, yet. This might seem like something super-boring, technical, and annoying, but there are so many assessments that can be super-helpful in your journey to figure out your next career move. They're a great way to find out more about your skills, your passions, and how best to use them. I was initially skeptical of these until I was forced to do more than a few for my master's program coursework. The insights were amazingly enlightening and helped me clarify what I wanted to do with the next five years of my work life.
Some are free (like this one and this one) and some are an investment (like this one. Trust me sis, it's worth it.) You can find out personality traits that match with certain vocations, pinpoint your leadership strengths and weaknesses, and get recommendations on various types of jobs or roles that are a great fit—or might not be.
They're especially helpful when you're at a place of transition and are not quite sure which way to go (which is where I was a few years ago. I hit a peak in my career that led to major feelings of fear, inadequacy, and utter confusion).
When you're armed with information and resources to at least point you in the right direction to find the answers you need about your next career phase, it's easier to navigate the bumps that come with that journey. (Check out another great list of assessments here.)
4. Get a coach.
Investing in a transitions, career, or life coach is something that can bring priceless returns. Just like you'd get a realtor to help find your dream home and navigate the sometimes lengthy and complicated process of searching and closing, it's a good idea to get a coach for a major decision like a career change. You might say, "Well why pay them? What do I get for my money." Uhhhhh, peace of mind, clarity, organization, and direction.
I'd been working in media for over a decade and never thought I needed a coach until I decided to up and quit my job in management to work for myself. I'd always had decent-paying, health-benefits-offering positions at prestigious companies, and when I got my first big client within 2 weeks of going solo, I thought I'd made it. Wrong. I eventually lost that client, had nothing to fall back on, and had to really come to terms with the fact that I had big-talk entrepreneurial aspirations with a spoiled, scared, check-to-check, nine-to-fiver mindset.
I broke down and finally connected with a mastermind coach who was not only a successful entrepreneur herself, but someone who could relate to the shame and trauma I felt after not being an instant and consistent success in self-employment.
She helped me map out a better plan of action for my freelance projects, sift through my jumbled ideas and turn them into feasible concepts that were sellable and scalable, update my time management approach, and she provided a sounding board for times of frustration and utter failure.
If you can't afford to hire a coach, check out free resources from organizations like the National Urban League, via your local library (which sometimes lists opportunities to connect with local coaches), and through scholarship, grant, and nonprofit initiatives. And don't forget to look in your own backyard: Many sorority, alumni or civic organizations offer free coaching services, and there are Facebook and LinkedIn groups dedicated to it.
5. Check your lifestyle and finances.
Baby, rent is always due, and don't let IG fool you. I really don't have to tell you this but I will: Making a career change can be scary, super-risky, and utterly stressful. At one point, I thought I could be a full-time social media manager. I'd been in media for a while and had dabbled in various aspects of the industry, so I thought, "Hey, why not? How different can it be?"
Chile, talk about a hot mess. I hated the monotonous and tedious scheduling, I was not that great nor competitive at creating awesome videos and graphics, and I began to feel that feedback was more like annoying nitpicking (which it really wasn't. I mean, they were paying and deserved to get what they wanted). Also, I didn't like being on-call due to the nature of managing social, and I'm really not into the constant pressure of increasing audiences through that medium. It just wasn't something I enjoyed doing at all
The change was a big mistake that cost me lots of money and time that I really couldn't afford to lose at the time. I'd stopped taking on clients for other services to switch fully into social media management, so, again, I had no alternate income to fall back on. I parted ways with several clients at that time because, let's face it: I hated being a social media manager and really won't give my best to a role I hate. That put a strain on my pockets and led to burnout that negatively impacted my true passions: content management, editing, and writing.
Ask yourself the hard questions: Can I afford to make a change right now? If it's not a good fit or happens to be a mistake, will my savings cover me for a while? If my new career shift includes taking a pay cut, investing more money in overhead costs, or losing a current audience or client, am I OK with that? Does my dream future lifestyle fit with what that industry normally pays people, and if not, again, am I OK with that? Will I be able to leverage opportunities in order to be financially free? Will the shift actually lead to more financial gains or more debt and little return on investment?
And I'm from the school of You Really Can Do Anything You Put Your Mind To, so I'm not going to get into the narrative of avoiding taking action due to money issues. (I mean, I get it: Some folks are scared to make a change if the circumstances for doing so aren't perfect. Well, not me.) Let's reverse that: As my mother would say, find a way and get it done. If you have to adjust your budget, take on more hours to earn funds to put in your "I Quit" account, lean on friends and family (word to Granny and Ma!), work with an adviser to map out the financial part of your transition, or take a leap of faith, do it.
Changing your career or totally shifting professional focus can be a roller coaster drama with crazy characters, several acts, random mini-failures, and many intermissions, but I liken the process to anything beautiful and fulfilling in one's life: If it's something you're called to do, the not-so-sweet stuff is well worth it.
For more job search tips, career advice and profiles, check out the xoNecole Workin Girl section here.
Featured image by Getty Images
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Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
I didn’t think much could get better about the blissful high that comes with oral. That was until I came across the Kivin Method.
As someone who was never a huge fan of oral sex and could largely take it or leave it, I must admit that I have started to come around in recent years. With my head thrown back, hands gripping sheets and hair, and toes curling from the intense sensations of the work my partner is putting in at my center, I now give myself over to the pleasurable act wholly and unapologetically.
When I came across a way to maximize the pleasure I receive from cunnilingus (already), I had no choice but to tap in. Who knew the key to taking oral sex to new heights was giving it a sideways twist? For those of you who might also be interested in ways to spice up the way you do oral, experience faster and stronger orgasms, or simply want to indulge in something new with your partner, the Kivin Method could definitely be the oral sex technique for you, too.
Keep reading to learn about the method that is sure to have you writhing in ecstasy in no time at all.
What Is The Kivin Method?
For the uninitiated, the Kivin Method is an oral sex technique that focuses on stimulating the clitoris from a different angle. Dubbed “sideways oral” by some, this method involves the action of giving head from a side-to-side movement as opposed to the up-and-down motion that people typically perform when giving head. (If you need a visual, this illustration is helpful.)
The difference in approach as you’re receiving head can be a game-changer in how you receive pleasure. Not only does the giving partner have access to the clitoris, but they can also access more easily the vulva and the labia, which are objectively a bigger focus in this version of cunnilingus. More access means wider coverage, and that, plus the new sensation of oral from a different angle, can heighten the way you experience oral sex that much more.
Where more pleasure flows, intense orgasms are sure to follow.
How To Do The Kivin Method
If you want to know how to do the Kivin Method, it’s actually pretty straightforward. The receiver lays on their back while the giver positions themselves perpendicular to the receiver. Their head will be facing the vulva, but instead of vertical, their face will be horizontal to the vulva.
From there, the giver can get to business, ensuring that they keep their head perpendicular to the receiver’s vulva while working on their craft. Because this technique can be more intense for some receivers, start slowly by stroking the vulva and clitoris sideways with the tongue, and allow sensations and communication from the receiver to be a guide of what you need more or less of with the Kivin Method.
Ultimately, the Kivin Method allows experimentation and unlocking what pressure, rhythm, and tricks work best for the giver and the receiver. Try implementing a finger or two, or adding a sex toy to the mix to intensify the act even further.
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Featured image by Delmaine Donson/Getty Images