My father has played baseball every Sunday since the day I was born. He has only missed three games that I can remember in over thirty years. Once was when the shit hit the fan at work and everyone’s job was on the line. The second time was a close family funeral and the third time was when we were on a family vacation and there wasn’t a way, he could get home in time for the game.
He has made it a priority to do something he loves at least once a week. Everyone in our family knows that it’s not optional. His coworkers know that if they plan a meeting, he won’t be there. Sundays are for baseball and only baseball.
Your hobbies are not optional.
Find ways to incorporate those activities into your life. Never go a week without doing something that you love that isn’t work.
What gets you excited? What do you love doing? What is it that you can lose yourself to the point where you lose track of time?
If you say you don’t have time, I will tell you that you do have time. You are just choosing to spend your time doing other activities. You must make time for yourself.
Having hobbies makes you more interesting and gives you depth. It makes you fun to talk to and showcases your passion. It allows you to relax and recharge.
Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. You are not a machine that was built to work day in and day out. I think it’s an admirable trait to be passionate about your job and put in the hours, especially if you want to get ahead in your career. Working is necessary but it’s not the only thing that you should be doing.
If you’re not sure what you love doing, we already have a problem. It is, however, an easy problem to fix. You must take the time to try new things and find out what it is that sets your soul on fire. Here is an alphabetical list of activities that you can start working through to see if anything sparks a little joy in your life.
- Astronomy, Acting
- Baking, Blogging, Birdwatching
- Collecting, Coloring, Crochet, Crafts, Creative Writing, Crosswords
- Fashion, Fishing
- Gardening, Gaming, Genealogy, Graphic Design
- Home Improvement, Hula Hooping, Hiking
- Interior design, Ice Skating
- Jigsaw Puzzles, Jewelry Making, Juggling
- Karaoke, Karate, Knitting
- Music, Magic
- Painting, photography, Pottery
- Reading, Running
- Stamp Collecting, Sports, Sudoku, Sewing, Swimming, Sailing
- Ultimate Frisbee
- Vehicle Restoration
- Walking, Working Out, Word Searches
- Zoo Tours
When your name comes up what do people think about? How do you come across to others? Take a few minutes to visualize how you want to come across and then begin to implement those items into your daily life. When I came out of college, I knew who I wanted to be but felt like I was on a hamster wheel trying to get there. Sometimes you must do a complete life overhaul to turn yourself into the person you want to be. For me, a lot of my career focuses on creating and developing for major CPG companies. I could turn a cheese slice into something you needed to have in your house like a master but when it came to my own life, I looked like a mess. My work ethic was top-notch, but I appeared to be a shit show. I wasn’t good at time management (meaning I was always a couple minutes late). I bought whatever clothing was on sale without thinking about how it made me look or feel. I didn’t really wear make-up, just some concealer under my eyes and a dab of mascara paired with my strawberry Chapstick. Jewelry was only for special occasions. My desk was always organized but didn’t have a color scheme. I rocked a sock bun because I thought it looked sleek and pulled together. I was more than happy to wear my “fancy flip flops” (because I thought that was a thing) to the office and my heels only saw the day of light when I was getting my review. My cell phone case had floating sparkles and I donned a Jan Sport backpack. Don’t get me started on my pink and white polka dot suitcase. This was just how I appeared at the office, my home life was even worse.
I was a mess, a dumpster fire to say the least.
Here are some of the tips and tricks that I learned when I did my complete life overhaul. Start by looking at a few top professionals in your industry and see what they do and then align your life to mimic that.
- You must decide how you want to come across to everyone you work with and then try to focus on maintaining a consistent approach to ensure that your colleagues know what to expect.
- Keep your workspace clean and organized.
- Have a few items that represent who you are.
- Don’t keep tchotchkes and mementos in bulk. If you want to keep them tuck them away in a drawer. They make you look young.
- Design your home so that when you go on vacation, you miss being there.
- Keep it clean and organized.
- If you don’t use something consistently, get rid of it. It’s been proven that clutter can make you tired and depressed.
- If you don’t have money to invest in new clothes, find items that are cluttering up your home and sell them, and then use that money to build your new wardrobe. The better you dress, the better you will feel. I promise.
- Find 2-3 colors that look nice on you and only buy items in those colors. It makes getting ready easy and gives you so many incremental ways to pair and layer your clothing. I recommend neutrals. If you want to add in some color have a few fun accessories that you can throw in.
- Spend more on less. Don’t buy a lot of items that won’t last long. Invest in nice, classic pieces that will stand the test of time.
- Always keep a nice jacket at the office. If you work in a profession where suit jackets are worn at big meetings, keep one there. You never know when you are going to get called to a meeting and want to look together.
- Wake up a little earlier to make sure you have time to get ready. Set out your outfit and accessories the night before.
- Flip flops (no matter how fancy) and not meant for the office. There are more companies that are allowing a casual dress code, but I would bet that if you look at top management, they probably aren’t rocking flip flops daily or to their big meetings.
- Invest in good luggage. Get a suitcase set with the wheels that go in every direction. Stick with black or brown. Your suitcase should not represent anything seen on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire.
- If you use a laptop bag or bookbag, keep it simple and professional. Anything that you would wear in high school or college is probably out of the question.
Congratulations, you have a career.
For your sake (and those that work around you), I am going to provide you with a laundry list of things that I have learned to drive people insane in the office.
- Put down your phone. If you are talking to someone, don’t check your phone during the conversation.
- Don’t bring seafood to work. It smells and will make the entire office smell. People will hate you.
- Don’t chew loudly during meetings. Don’t chew loudly at all.
- Always hold the door. If someone is just a little too far away make sure to say “you don’t have to run” because most people tend to go into hustle mode to get to the door.
- If you are wearing headphones, don’t sing out loud. Maybe do this because it’s hilarious.
- If you borrow office supplies, always return them the same day.
- Community fridge? Always label your lunch. Do not eat anything that is not yours.
- The reply-all button should be used in emergency instances only.
- Be on time. I feel like this is so important I devoted an entire chapter to it.
I can guarantee that you will not like every person you work with. It’s not realistic to believe that you will. Everyone has different working styles and different beliefs and that’s okay. There will be people that you clash with. Keep it to yourself. Obviously, performance-related matters should be elevated but personal opinions have no place in the workplace.
If you have a problem keeping your opinions in check, try getting a notebook and writing them down and then throwing them away or texting them to yourself or sharing them with a close friend, family member, or significant other after work.
Sharing personal opinions can lead to creating a toxic work environment. Every person in an office should strive to keep matters professional.
Always remember that you are here to work, and you are getting paid for it. Avoid getting involved in gossip in any way shape or form. If you see that it’s happening, try to find a way to exit the conversation. You don’t want to be associated with it.
If you voice your opinion and others don’t agree, you end up looking bad. If you voice your opinions and others do agree you become part of the office gossip train which can spiral out of control quickly and potentially land you in hot water with the HR department.
Never put anything negative in writing. If you do you are setting yourself up for trouble. Additionally, you must be careful even when you are joking around with others. Make sure that you don’t make anyone the butt of a joke or call them out publicly.
It’s not nice, it’s not good etiquette. Just don’t do it.
Do not be a tattletale. I am in no way implying that you need to contact HR every time Betty prints her son’s permission slip on the company printer. It might not be right but perhaps Betty had to work late and didn’t have time to do it at home. It’s not your job to get other people in trouble, but it is your job to speak up for what is right.
If someone is being treated poorly or discriminated against based on race, gender, sexual preference/identity it is your responsibility to notify someone. If something feels wrong, it usually is. If something seems a little bit sketchy or shady it usually is. Don’t ignore these gut feelings.
Don’t get involved in other people’s battles, just notify the person who would handle it and then stay as far out of the mess as you can.