Keep Your Career Options Open

Author: Emmanuel Pepis, Career Advice

Many of us have been there before. You go to college, you have a desired field you want to study, you graduate, then comes maybe the hardest part: a career track that can resemble a long, winding, and sometimes frustrating road with its share of twists and turns.

It’s great to have goals that you strive for, and you should never lose sight of what you ultimately want in your career path. At the same time, it never hurts to have balance and allow things to fall into place. The results could be pleasantly surprising. And, on top of all that, all are learning experiences in their own forms as well. 

Career paths generally are never linear

There are times we’ll be frustrated by the lack of open jobs. There will be setbacks, and there will be moments where we can take ourselves in a slightly different direction. By making yourself as diverse as possible, you have the potential for many open doors that you may not have thought of when you got your degree. Plus, taking jobs and doing things that you never thought you’d learn or need to know, shows us how much untapped potential is within us. 

Take advantage of opportunities
Of course its important to strive for what you want. You have the power to be in charge of yourself and where you want to be. But you must allow yourself the freedom to become more versatile in your field if and when the opportunity presents itself. No experience is bad experience and it could lead to something you may not have thought was possible. If an opportunities arises, even if it’s not one that you thought you’d ever take, try it out, and see what happens.

Utilize your skill set
Part of the beauty of each person is we all have different skill sets, and everyone should use that to their advantage. Your strengths are what help let you stand out, and most of the time they tend to be what you enjoy the most doing. Use them. If you’re using your skills in your present work, while always keeping your goals in mind, you’re on the right path to getting where you one day want to be. Or, it could lead you to something even better that you may have not thought of before.  

Always remember to network
Networking can truly happen anywhere. Even if you’re not actively looking to change jobs or careers, don’t be afraid to talk to people about what you do or want to do in the future. Talk to your family, friends, current colleagues, former colleagues, and even people you may not know personally. You never know what opportunity will arise, even if it’s one you didn’t know you were looking for.

Don’t think of any job as beneath you
Every job is a learning experience. From bagging groceries to customer service jobs, whatever the position may be, you’re learning skills that you can then translate into another job. Having skills and experiences in other fields, or from jobs that weren’t necessarily originally on your radar, gives you a much broader outlook, and can help your work ethic by approaching things from a different, unbiased perspective.

I’ve Never Dated Before, and Here is My Admission

Author: Emmanuel Pepis, The Dating Game

I’m about to admit something that may or may not be surprising: I’ve never been on an actual date in my adult life.

I can sit here and fill the page with stories of failed dating attempts in my past, but I won’t travel down that road. Sure, there are girls I’ve really liked. Sure, I’ve tried to set up something. Every time, though, either plans fell through or something seemingly out of the ordinary happened.

Because of this, for the last few years, I haven’t even tried to ask a girl out at all.

I don’t want to make it sound like I absolutely need to have a relationship to make me feel complete. You don’t. But I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t suck to be lonely sometimes. To not have someone to share your heart with and to not have companionship is not a fun feeling.

It can also bring good old-fashioned doubt into your mind. I’ve questioned myself, my personality, if I’m doing something wrong. I’ve blamed myself for far too long, and that’s a big reason I’m making this admission and writing to anybody who may be feeling the same way I am.

Trust me on this, though — continue to be the best version of yourself you can be. Continue to put yourself out there and let others see who you really are.

You’ll get frustrated. There will be moments where things won’t work out when you want them to. That’s okay. Don’t blame yourself when someone turns you down or when someone cancels on a date in the eleventh hour. I know the last sentence is easier said than done and dating can make the heart fragile.

I’ve put myself through that in the past. I have doubted my own personality when I shouldn’t. And learning from all this (admittedly the hard way) has put me in a better place now. Sure, I still have days when those negative thoughts creep in but for the most part, I can deal with it better now.

This may sound cliché, but love sometimes happens when and where we least expect it. Though it may be easy to get frustrated, continue to live your life each day. Continue to strive for your goals while keeping your eyes open. These are things I have had to repeat to myself and things that some great friends have helped me out with over time.

Not everyone desires to find a partner and I fully understand. And if you’ve never been on a date, either, that’s truly okay. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. There’s nothing wrong with you. And you’re not the only one. However, I will say to all of you, that you deserve true love. Don’t settle for anything less.

We all deserve to look at ourselves in the best light possible and appreciate the little things that make us who we are. And it’s those things that will lead to the right person coming into your life: whether that’s tomorrow, next week, next year, or five years from now.

As You Get Older, Birthdays Become About More Than Just Gifts

Author: Emmanuel Pepis, Real Life Stories

Celebrating a birthday in your twenties and thirties is quite the different experience than it once was. I, as I’m sure many of you have, flashback sometimes to the birthday parties I used to have when I was a kid. As I’ve gotten older, each passing birthday has magnified something even more: how the best gifts truly are intangible.

I was never big on receiving gifts. When I was younger I didn’t ask for much. And on my past birthday, I didn’t receive any gift that you could put in a box. What I did get was the gift of precious time well spent.

As you celebrate a birthday in your twenties and thirties, it more often times than not includes needing to go work. This can cause us to complain, because who wants to spend their birthday at work? But I switched my perspective. The whole day was really all about the blessings that I’m thankful for each day. 

In a twist of events, I ended up not having to go into work. It should be a cause for celebration; however, the day started with taking my mother to her knee surgery. But, while I was waiting around, I got to hang with my dad. We went and ate lunch together, and just had fun. When I left to go get my mother, I was thinking about the whole day that had just transpired.

It’s true what they say: each moment with the people you love is never to be taken for granted.

Sure, it doesn’t sound like the most exciting birthday in the world. But this was special to me for reasons that can’t be seen but rather, felt in my heart. This day was special because I was blessed with intangible presents, and it’s a day I will always hold dear.

This birthday was unique just like each one before it. By the end of the day, I didn’t have any gifts that I could see or touch. That didn’t matter though. What did count was the quality time I got to enjoy, and am blessed to continue to have every day.

A birthday has been described often as “our special day.” It’s more than that though. We aren’t here without a mother, a father. We aren’t the people we are today without the guidance and support of the people in our lives whether that be a grandparent, a sister, a brother, a spouse, a best friend, or whatever the case may be.

The best gifts truly are the people who you get to share my special day and every day with. The people who have made an impact on my life. The people who have helped make me the person I am and strive to be every day. I couldn’t ever ask for more, and neither should you. 

Now don’t get me wrong. Birthday parties and celebrations are fun. However, this older birthday was another example to me of why the best things in life are those you can’t tear the wrapping paper off from. Use birthdays as a reminder to be grateful for everything you have in your life. Use birthdays as a day to spend time with your loved one. And use birthdays to put your life into a positive perspective.

Take a Deep Breath, and Calm Your Nerves

Author: Emmanuel Pepis, Career Advice

Chances are you’ve experienced nervous anticipation at some point in your life. It may have been before a big exam. Or you may have been getting ready to make a sales pitch on an idea that you’ve crafted and sharpened for months. Or you may have been thinking about your first public speaking gig in front of a large gathering.

Whatever the case may be, it’s natural to feel like your brain is going into overdrive. As a broadcaster, I know I’m conveying a game to an audience and I have to paint that picture as well as possible. It’s taken a while, but I’ve been able to channel that energy, and so can you.

Remember, it’s normal to feel nervous 
Part of the experience is the excitement (and yes, even the nerves) leading up to it. As long as you’re properly prepared, it’s okay to feel this level of anticipation. This provides another avenue to do a final check of sorts before that big meeting or presentation. Plus, it shows how much you care about what you’re about to do.

Don’t overanalyze
If you are overly analytical, this can be difficult. But, when we start playing out different scenarios in our minds, that’s when you throw yourself off course. It can be a fine line between allowing yourself to feel that energy and letting it take over your mind. In this scenario, you’re most likely hardly going to get any sleep the night before and that may compromise you from the start. Take a deep breath, try to divert your mind and do whatever you can to attempt to sleep.

Practice, practice, practice
They say that practice makes perfect, right? And they’re not wrong. Take every chance you can to make sure you’re in the best possible position to succeed. It’s not likely you can anticipate every single scenario, but it’s important to remember that you are the one in control. Be confident in your work, know that you truly did your best to prepare, and the rest will take care of itself.

Wind down the night before
Whether it’s listening to music, watching a show that makes you laugh, reading a book, or something else not listed, once you’ve finished the work and checked all the boxes, allow yourself time to relax. You’ll be well-rested once that energy returns moments before your presentation. And remember, it’ll all be worth it.

How to Start Mending a Friendship

Adulting, Author: Emmanuel Pepis

Millennials, sometimes we try to make things better for someone we care about, but instead, we have the opposite effect. Either we act out of character for a brief moment in time, or we try too hard and wind up failing.

I was recently in this position with a friend of mine. I was trying to make things better in what was a tough situation and ended up making things worse instead. And I can say from experience there are very few worse feelings in the world. Luckily, this person was forgiving of my inexplicable folly and moment of stupidity.

What can you do if you also find yourself in this situation, or a similar one? These are a few things to consider that hopefully you’ll find helpful if you ever mistakenly travel the same path I did.

Apologize profusely
Until someone is tired of hearing it, don’t just stop at “I’m sorry.” Say what you did wrong. Even though that person knows, the fact that you are acknowledging and aware of your wrongdoing is a step of admission that could keep the lines of communication more open.

Don’t make excuses 
Don’t scramble to find a story that you think may fly. Just own up to it without any explanation that may sound logical, but is most likely not truthful. There is some level of trust and honesty that builds every type of relationship. An excuse conjured up beyond the action will only more than likely deepen the cut.

Accept the consequences
Things may go back to being the same; then again, they may not. It all depends on several factors. In life, sometimes we learn lessons the hard way. If a person isn’t forgiving or isn’t liable to be as trusting going forward, then that’s something we live and learn from.

Learn from it 
It’s cliché, but we all make mistakes. I know how and why I messed up. I know what not to do in the same situation if or when it arises again. I still feel terrible about it, but I can’t go back and change my misstep. I can only try to be a better person going forward. Beating yourself up will do nothing productive. By going through this experience, I learned that I should have known better. I tried too hard, and I ended up causing more harm than good. At the same time, I know there’s only one option and that’s to try to be a better person through learning from my own mishaps.