business woman

3 Pieces of Career Advice I Wish I'd Had in My 20s


I'd like to think that when people look at me, they see a woman who’s got her stuff together – someone who is sure of herself and her career.  I am a career coach and HR professional and have the opportunity to do something for work that I love and am good at. 

I’ve hit the career lottery, but I can assure you, this hasn’t always been the case.

Throughout my time in college, I just knew I was going to become a therapist. I declared the right major, got the right grades and was accepted into an Ivy League clinical psychology program when I graduated.

Everything in my life seemed to be falling into place, which is why I stunned everyone around me (including myself) by writing a letter to the admissions office, asking to defer my acceptance into the grad program for one year.

The idea was to accept a full time job, where I'd be supporting a trading desk at an investment bank in NYC. I had it all planned - I would only stay there for one year while I saved some money to provide a cushion for when I went to grad school for my Masters and then Ph.D. Never mind that I had no interest or experience with anything related to Wall Street – that was irrelevant.   Fast forward 10+ years later, and I never made it back to get those degrees.

Although my career path has been unexpected to say the least, I've learned a lot about the world of work, human beings in general, and myself over the past decade in Corporate America.

I’m sure I could go on for hours with encouraging words of wisdom and advice (like how many hours of sleep I actually need and how I do my best work a few hours before a deadline), but the biggest career lessons I’ve learned can be boiled down to 3 main points.


This is a concept that I really wish I'd grasped earlier on in my career. I spent the better part of 5 years going through the motions every day and letting my career be dictated to me by my company, my boss and my family. If I'm being honest, the decision to abandon...I mean defer grad school and enter corporate America was solely to please other people. I never felt anyone truly believed in my dream to become a therapist, and even those that did, were still convinced it would never make me any real money.

Sure, I was paid well on Wall Street, but my hours, wardrobe, interests, and social life were controlled by my job. What good is making a lot of money if you’re working 12-hour days and weekends, never given the chance to enjoy it?


The beginning of my career – before the husband, the kid and the mortgage – would've been the perfect time to explore some of my riskier dreams and passions. I've always wanted to work and live abroad, become a teacher, work for a non-profit and join the Peace Corps.

While I know I can still accomplish at least one of these things and there's no expiration date on going after a dream, I have to admit that it's a lot more challenging to do so with a 2 year old in tow, no matter how adorable she may be.


I knew on my second day at that investment bank that it wasn't the right fit for me. Yet, even with that knowledge, it took five years before I did anything about it.  That's five years of not working in my purpose, five years of mindless, soul crushing work and five years of unnecessary stress that led to weight gain, health issues and sad times.  Looking back, I can tell you that I was paralyzed by fear – of failure, change, and the unknown.

Would my career journey have been easier if I knew then what I know now? Sure. Would I have ended up in a drastically different place than I am today?  Maybe not.  Eleven years after college graduation, I can tell you with 100% certainty that I have zero interest in being anyone’s therapist.  I also believe that I would've come to this same conclusion even if I went off to the Ivy League instead of Wall Street.

We spend most of our waking hours at work, and while it would be amazing if every person were given a step-by-step, specific blueprint of how to navigate the 40-50 years they spend at work, this just doesn't happen. The best we can all do is to learn from our mistakes and have the courage to change direction when the current path isn't working.  This is my goal every single day and I hope it's yours as well.

If you're currently on a career path and you think it's time for a bit of course correction of your own, check out the Career Makeover toolkit. My free 5 day guide to transforming your career into the one you've always wanted.

3 Strategies You Can Use To Stay One Step Ahead of HR, Your Boss And Your Company At All Times

Screenshot 2016-07-18 10.55.47I've been in HR since 2010 and during this time I've learned a lot about how decisions are made on employees. In the past 6 years I've done the hiring and (unfortunate) firing as well as everything in between for thousands of employees. I've had the opportunity to recruit and interview potential candidates, design and deliver training courses, create programs and initiatives and coach employees from all backgrounds on how to navigate their careers.

Although there are many great things that HR makes possible for the employees at a given company, the underlying secret that all HR professionals know is that - everyone is replaceable. Although we as employees tend to grow attached to our jobs, the company overall is only attached to their bottom line and sometimes this comes at the expense of their employee's jobs.

Because we are all replaceable (and this includes HR themselves - I've been laid off before), something that I teach every single one of my clients is how to remain one step ahead of HR (their boss and their company) at all times.

Check out the strategies below.

The 3 Strategies You Can Use To Stay One Step Ahead of HR, Your Boss And Your Company At All Times

Be Real With Yourself

A lot of times when it comes to our careers, we are in denial. One of the toughest parts of my job is delivering the news to an employee that s/he is being let go. Something that a lot of employees say is that they didn't see it coming.  I must admit, I felt the exact same way when I myself was being laid off. I was a top performer. I was getting paid a lot of money. I'd given so many years to the company. So what do you mean my position has been eliminated?

The mistake I made back then (and what a lot of people make) is believing the hype. My eyes  used to glaze over with pride when my boss would tell me how well I was doing at the company. Listen, no matter how amazing you are, YOU ARE REPLACEABLE. The sooner you acknowledge this fact, the better off you'll be. It's hard to plan for your next move, if you think your current situation will never come to an end.

Make Friends With HR (And Your Boss)

And no, I don't mean in a fake and sleazy sort of way. But, you should definitely make it your business to have a link to the inside. Of course, as HR professionals and managers, we can't give you the heads up that your job is being eliminated or give you the details of an ongoing investigation you or your coworker is involved in, but as you begin to get to know HR and your boss a little better, you'll start to realize when trouble is on the horizon and make your own preparations accordingly.

I am work friends with a lot of my clients. And although I never give them any specifics, I'm always there as a resource to help coach them through developing their careers and helping them to make the best decisions for their own professional growth. Having a mentor/coach at work that is actually part of the decision making process is one of the smartest career moves you can make and in fact it's how I was able to transfer into HR in the first place.

Always Have Your Ducks In A Row

This is the most important strategy of all. You should be prepared at all times. Ever heard of the saying "You've got to stay ready so you never have to get ready"? This is so true. You should always have an up to date resume, be networking all the time, taking training courses and have an idea of what you want your next career move to be.

It took me a very long time to find a new gig after I was laid off.The first 5 months were spent on the couch feeling sorry for myself and being unsure of what I wanted to do next. Don't let this be you.  It wasn't until I put a real career strategy together that I was able to land an amazing job in less than 30 days. Planning and preparation is key.

The moral of this story isn't for you to be scared each day when you go into work, but actually the exact opposite. You should feel empowered and less anxious after you start using these strategies. Knowing that you're prepared for whatever comes your way allows you to feel more confident in yourself and your abilities.

Want me to help you finally put the right plan in place to transform your career into an amazing, fulfilling and lucrative one?

How to Make Friends at Work In 3 Easy Steps

How to Make Friends at Work In 3 Easy Steps-2There are so many things about having to work that can be irritating. Whether it's working for a boss you can't stand or having an extra long commute, even those who are lucky enough to have found their dream job   can admit there are still one or two things about work they can do without.
With all the many ways your job can suck, the one thing that's the most unfortunate is when you don't have a friendly relationship with your coworkers.

Liking and trusting the people you work with goes a long way in making the hours between 9am and 5pm more enjoyable. Not only can you speak freely with your work friends about work related topics, but also about current events, TV shows and your plans for the weekend.

Although most people agree that it's important to have friends at work, for some it can be difficult to let their guard down enough to allow this to happen. Reasons for this range from feeling shy about building those relationships to not even knowing how to start.
Here are 3 things you can start doing right away to go from the loner in the corner cubicle to Ms. Popularity in no time.
Insert Yourself Into Relevant Conversations (But Don't Overdo It)
How many times have you heard a group of coworkers having an open dialogue about something you know about and/or are interested in and you kept quiet? This is the exact opposite of what someone trying to make friends does.
Group conversations are the perfect way to build rapport with your coworkers and since it isn't a one on one chat, you don't have to feel pressure to find something to say the whole time. Next time you see an opportunity to join a conversation already in progress, find a non-awkward moment to insert your opinion into the mix.
Go To Lunch With Your Coworkers 
Believe me, I am the first person to use my lunch hour as a time to get some much needed alone time. With all the distractions that happen all day long at work, it can very often be the only chance you get to have some peace and quiet.
While I'm not saying you have to spend every lunch break with someone else, challenging yourself to go to lunch with a coworker at least once a week is a great way to ensure you're getting face time with the people you work with - away from the desk. Some of my best work relationships have started while waiting in line at the deli across the street from the office.
Make Friends With The Most Popular Person 
This is probably the easiest (and laziest) way to make friends at work. The most popular person in the office has already gone through the process of getting to know people and building work relationships - why not capitalize off of their hard work?
Once you've gotten to know this person pretty well, it will only be a matter of time before s/he starts bringing you into the fold with all of his/her connections. Use these opportunities to begin creating your own friendships and you will soon have a long list of work buds.
Most people will spend 1/3 of their adult lives at work.  Why not make the time more bearable by creating friendships with the people you will spend most of your day with? No one is saying you have to be BFFs with everyone in the office, but I definitely couldn't imagine working along side people I did not like.

5 Ways to Become the All-Star Employee Your Boss Can't Live Without

image The relationship between you and your boss is an important one. Your boss is responsible for making decisions on the direction and enjoyability of your career and can ultimately make or break your experience at work.

Your goal as an employee should be to build a mutually beneficial relationship where it's clear (to both you and your boss) how much of an indespensible asset you are to the team.

This article from gives 5 strategies you can use to make sure your boss never forgets how irreplaceable you are.



Everything You Need To Know About Job Satisfaction

Everything You Need To Know about Job Satisfaction.pngLast week I wrote an article detailing the step by step process you can follow to develop a plan for creating your perfect career.  I even provided a worksheet to help walk you through the process in an easy to follow way. Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about job satisfaction. What it means, how to get it and most importantly – how to keep it. It’s nice to map out what it takes for you to create that ideal job for yourself, but what factors should you pay attention to as you decide which role will actually be the right one for you? I thought it would be a good idea to detail everything you need to know about job satisfaction here, so that if you find yourself in a situation where you don’t enjoy what you do for work, you’ll know what to look for when you’re deciding on a new gig.

What Does Job Satisfaction Mean?

There are a lot of text book definitions of what job satisfaction means, but I like to think of it as the answer to one simple question: How happy am I to get out of bed and go to work every morning? This is a crucial question to ask yourself because whether or not you are fulfilled with your job has a huge impact on your overall happiness and success.

To get the real answer to this question, you should look at your feelings toward your job as an average, overall concept. No matter what job you have, there will be times you don’t feel like getting out of bed (even Beyoncé has days she’d rather stay home than go to work), so don’t use one bad (or good) experience to determine your entire outlook on your career.

What Factors Affect Job Satisfaction?

Your level of satisfaction with your job doesn’t boil down to one single thing.  There are a combination of factors that all come together to determine how you feel about what you do for work.  Some of these factors are obvious, but others are more subtle.  Both types, however, are a big deal and contribute to how you feel about going in to work every day.

The most common factors that affect job satisfaction are:

  • Work Environment:Is your office space cramped, dark, or overcrowded? You spend so much time at work every week so being in an atmosphere that helps you feel productive and calm goes a long way toward your satisfaction.
  • Career Advancement:How clearly are you able to see a path available for you to move up at your company? Does your company provide opportunities for you to learn new skills and take advantage of continuing education opportunities? Employees are more satisfied when they feel they know what it takes to develop their careers.
  • Stress Level:Anyone who’s had a workload that’s too heavy, strict deadlines and an inflexible schedule; knows far too well that this does not inspire job satisfaction. Every job has some level of stress, but when this stress rise to unmanageable levels, it’s only a matter of time until you burn out.
  • Your Coworkers:Working side by side with individuals who you don’t like and/or don’t treat you with respect is not an ideal working situation. One of the most important factors for determining job satisfaction is the social aspect of your job.
  • Your Boss:When your supervisor recognizes your accomplishments, allows you to voice your concerns and values your opinion, work is more enjoyable. When the opposite is true, it’s not.
  • Your Pay:Feeling that you’re being paid fairly and in proportion to your contributions is a huge deal. Besides disrespectful coworkers and an unreasonable boss, feeling underpaid is the top reason people are not satisfied at work.

What Should You Do If You’re Not Satisfied With Your Job?

It would be simple for me to say “just leave” if you’ve gone through each of the factors that affect job satisfaction and realize that you are unsatisfied with your job. But you and I both know that’s easier said than done. The best way to tackle this issue is to approach it in 2 steps.

Step 1: Look for ways to improve the situation at your current job.  There will always be ways for you to make lemonade out of your career lemons. Before you go looking for another job, it is wise to make the one you already have more bearable by improving upon some of the things that are in your control. You never want to be in a situation where you’re so blinded by unhappiness that you become desperate in your search for a new opportunity.

Step 2: Map out what your ideal job looks like (using this worksheet) and once you’re clear, begin the process of looking for new opportunities. Remember, you are looking for a job that will set you up to maintain job satisfaction long term. Be sure to measure each opportunity against the satisfaction factors above to ensure you are making the right choice. There are a lot of red flags during the interview process that people ignore because they’re so anxious to leave their current job (again, this is why it’s important to make your current job as bearable as possible while you do your search).

Although the ultimate goal is to love what you do, for various reasons, this isn’t always the case for every person.  What should be non-negotiable though, is the level of satisfaction you have with your job.  Think about it – this is the place you spend 1/3 of your life and you are only hurting yourself by continuing to be in a situation that makes you unhappy. Now that you know what to look for, it’s up to you to make sure you get it.