Thursday, June 23, 2011

Is Buying a Home Good for Your Career?

Many new graduates I talk with are saddled with huge student loans and wonder about when they can afford a home, or even a car, of their own. So many are renting, sharing space with roommates, and riding Metro (here in DC). It's understandable that they would want to settle down some day in their own homes, with no landlord to worry about.

The more I read about our economic recovery, however, the more I wonder if the American dream of owning a home is bad for our careers. Time magazine reports that the outlook for economic recovery and job growth may turn out to be very dependent on where you live. According to a report commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, New York City may see a good job market in two years, but L.A. may not see a good one for seven. Of course, results like these are in the mayors' best interest, and I try to take these things with a grain of salt.

Still, I'm starting to think I may need to start asking career counseling clients if they intend to own their homes in the next decade or if they will rent. It may make all the difference to their career decisions. If your dream job is available across the country but not locally, can you afford to move? And if you can't afford to buy, maybe that's good news, in a way. You're free to move to that job in NYC.

Friday, June 10, 2011

On Being Vulnerable

Photo by Nate Brelsford, via stock.xchng
Recently on I came across researcher/storyteller Brene Brown, author of The Gifts of Imperfection. In her talk (I watched it here), she asserts that perfectionism blocks our paths to happiness. I fall victim to this all the time. I'm sure that's why I haven't posted on my blog recently. With a newborn, I'm never rested enough, never reading enough, never prepared enough to post. But I need to get over that, and so do job seekers.
Time and again I see a client's perfectionism get in the way of sending out a resume on time. So often I see people waiting for the perfect moment to change careers. The economy is never good enough, their portfolio is never creative enough.
But the perfect time will never come. We will never be the perfect candidate, because being human is by definition an imperfect enterprise. At some point we have to take a deep breath and send the email. We have to be ourselves. We have to, as author Seth Godin writes, get used to "shipping" the product.
We need to find a way to act like ourselves, despite the fear that we're not good enough. Brown says this is, very simply, what happy people do. They put their real selves out there and make connections. They make themselves vulnerable, despite the fear. If that's difficult for you right now in your job search, her talk might inspire you to hit send. What's the worst that could happen?


My career counseling practice is still temporarily on hold, although I am taking time for a few resume critiques by email and phone. Contact me at for more information. I'll be sure to tell you when I'm fully up and running again.