Show Up. Dive In. Stay At It.

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Photo courtesy of hindustantimes.com

Barack Hussein Obama is the only president that I had ever voted for until 2016. The same goes for many of my peers. I know that this experience has been a privilege that many of us have taken for granted. This man, born in Hawaii, former resident of Indonesia, child of a Black African Father and White American mother, from humble beginnings and a self-seeking journey that lasted well into his 20s, is my president, and the only one that I have ever voted for until this past election. There is so much weight to that experience that no matter how I feel about those who chose to sit out this past election, I understand.

Show Up. Dive In. Stay At It.
Last night, Tuesday. January 10th, 2017 at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, President Obama gave his farewell address. An address that serves as the conclusion of our 44th President’s groundbreaking, immensely challenging, and always controversial, presidency. Many say that no other president has been disrespected like our first African American president, and I agree. From congress to media outlets to the racist Joe Shmoe on the street, combined with tackling the obstacles left from his predecessors, President Barack Obama’s two terms in office were filled with graceful perseverance in the face of severe ugliness.

“Yes, our progress has been uneven. The work of democracy has always been hard. It has been contentious. Sometimes it has been bloody. For every two steps forward, it often feels we take one step back. But the long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed to embrace all, and not just some. (Barack Obama, Farewell Address 2017)”

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back. A struggle too familiar for many, especially, those attempting to do work that improves lives for others. How must it feel to win marriage equality, secure health insurance for 20 million citizens, extend clemency to 1,324 individuals, and much more, only to be succeeded by someone with starkly different values and the desire to undo everything you accomplished in office, arguably due to the public’s fascination and admiration of money, celebrity, and classism? I can’t imagine, but I know many of us can relate on all smaller scale. On the scale of sacrificing your time and dedicating your energy to a project or idea that you believe will improve your community, and therefore the world, only to be overlooked for what is popular, flashy, and trendy in the moment. It is difficult to persevere in your purpose when the work of substance is often ignored and the creation of facades, gimmicks, and “personalities” is celebrated. Throughout his presidency, President Obama has emphasized through his platform his love and service for everybody, and throughout his presidency, we have witnessed firsthand, that everybody was not for him. However, last night, as he gave his farewell address, eyes in the audience filled with tears, social media was somber, and his approval ratings at a seven-year high, many are beginning to realize how great of a servant Barack Hussein Obama was and is for our nation. Many are moved to see this man step down with grace after such a challenging presidency. Many are realizing what it looks like to witness someone stay true to themselves and walk in purpose.

“Let me tell you, this generation coming up — unselfish, altruistic, creative, patriotic — I’ve seen you in every corner of the country. You believe in a fair, and just, and inclusive America; you know that constant change has been America’s hallmark, that it’s not something to fear but something to embrace, you are willing to carry this hard work of democracy forward. You’ll soon outnumber any of us, and I believe as a result the future is in good hands. (Barack Obama, Farewell Address 2017)”

Barack Obama was the first president many of us ever voted for. Is there a connection between Barack Obama’s elections and “Yes, We Can” campaign and the emergence of this altruistic generation? A generation that dusted off their grandparents’ picket signs, raised their voices on social media to fight for equality, and popularized crowd-funding platforms to support the needs of others? Is there a connection between “Yes, We Can” and the influx of blogs, posts, life coaches, motivational speakers, and others who push positivity, support, and love?

Our president, President Barack Hussein Obama, has undoubtedly left the world better than he found it, and we will too, just remember to Show up, Dive in, and Stay at it.

“Show up, dive in, stay at it. Sometimes you’ll win, sometimes you’ll lose. Presuming a reservoir in goodness, that can be a risk. And there will be times when the process will disappoint you. But for those of us fortunate enough to have been part of this one and to see it up close, let me tell you, it can energize and inspire. (Barack Obama, Farewell Address 2017)”

5 PAID 2017 Summer Internships That Should Be on Your Radar

It’s that time of year again. After a winter break filled with home-cooked meals, relaxing or working your seasonal job, and spending time with family and childhood friends, it is now time to prepare for the second semester of your academic year. While many students are going in solely focused on finishing strong after a not-so-hot first semester, others are already planning for summer 2017. The summer is a great time to put your classroom knowledge to use in a practical way by interning. Through internships, you are able to try out your potential jobs and fields, and get a really good idea of what you like and what you could do without in your future career, while also gaining professional experience that not only is a great opportunity to build professional skill and networks, but also will give you a competitive edge on your resume. As a former struggling intern and college student, I know how difficult it can be to take on an unpaid internship, so URPathways will be posting Paid Summer Internship Opportunities throughout Spring Semester 2017. Check out our first five below:

J.Walter Thompson Worldwide

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This marketing-communications agency headquartered in New York, New York, offers ten-week paid internships, for rising juniors and seniors, in a variety of areas including Public Relations & Communications, New Business, Strategic Planning, Research, Analytics, and Account Management. Application Deadlines are January 31, 2017.

Learn More and Apply here.

 

ExxonMobil

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ExxonMobil Biomedical Sciences, Inc has two paid 10-12 week summer internship opportunities for graduate students, Exposure Sciences and Epidemiology. Both internships provide housing and relocation assistance as needed. A wholly owned subsidiary of ExxonMobil,  ExxonMobil Biomedical Sciences, Inc,has more than 100 human health, environmental, and product stewardship experts positioned globally to provide integrated support to ExxonMobil businesses. Application deadline not posted, so if you are interested, I suggest applying ASAP, via the links below.

Exposure Sciences Intern

Epidemiology Intern

 

Royal Caribbean Cruise, Ltd.

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Internship in South Florida? With a Cruise Line? Paid? Where do I sign up? That was my thought process when I found this gem of an opportunity, unfortunately for me, that ship has sailed 🙂 However, if you are a student, undergrad or grad, you are in luck. Royal Carribbean Cruise, Ltd. invites you to apply for their full-time, 8-10 week, Summer 2017 Internship Program. The cruiseline offers internships in a variety of departments including

  • Accounting
  • Community and Government Relations
  • Entertainment
  • Environment
  • Finance
  • Food and Beverage
  • Hotel Operations
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology
  • Legal
  • Marine Operations
  • Medical
  • Newbuilding and Fleet Design
  • Safety
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Security
  • Supply Chain

There’s no deadline posted, so you know what to do, get on it!

Apply Here.

 

Hamilton Place Strategies

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From personal experience, let me tell you that there is little worse than an internship where you are not given the opportunity to contribute to or even learn from the team. That’s why I am so excited to share this opportunity for rising seniors from Hamilton Place Strategies. This non-partisan consulting firm is offering a 3-4 month internship in Washington, D.C, allowing Public policy, Economics, Business majors, and the like to gain experience drafting press releases, content for social platforms, conduct research, support events, and more. This internship is not only paid, but also provides a travel stipend.

Deadline not posted.

Learn more and apply here.

 

United Airlines

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Would you rather spend your summers traveling the world like some of your more privileged peers? Well what if I told you, you can travel while boosting up your resume, learning, and…GETTING PAID?! I thought you would be interested. United Airlines offers a Flight Operations Internship Program that will teach you through entry level experience the operations of a airline. Many of the job duties involve working with and supporting pilots. This opportunity is for juniors, seniors, and graduate students. Interns are responsible for their own housing, however, the internship is offered in several locations, so if you live in or near one of the cities or have family in the area, this might be a great opportunity to work with a major airline and learn more about the industry while traveling Summer 2017.

Locations: Chicago, IL/ Denver, CO/ Houston, TX / Los Angeles, CA / Newark, NJ/ San Francisco, CA/ Washington, DC

 

The list of requirements for this internship is pretty exhaustive, so please learn more and apply here.

 

Good Luck, and Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women in Radio: Cathy Hughes

Women in Radio: Installment 3 of 3

As a child in the 1950’s, Cathy Hughes always knew that she would one day impact radio in a big way. Even in segregated Nebraska, Cathy had dreams of becoming the first Black nationally syndicated radio host. Although her siblings and family and friends thought her dreams were impossible, Cathy continued to hog the bathroom as she practiced her radio voice in the morning. Cathy’s reality surpassed her dreams 10-fold, as she became the founder of Radio One, a publicly traded company that now owns over 75 radio stations.

In September of 2016, Cathy Hughes shared her story with Guy Raz on NPR’s How I Built This podcast. Ms. Hughes’ story of overcoming discrimination, rejection, and teen pregnancy is inspiring for any entrepreneur or professional, but more than her story, I was inspired by her positive energy and resilience. Read on for 3 Gems from Cathy Hughes’ How I Built This episode on NPR.

  • Put your adversity to work as a motivator.

Cathy Hughes was a Teen Mom. After her first time having sex at 16 years old, Cathy learned she was pregnant. She admits that she was in shock, but she used the pregnancy as a motivator to work harder, and realize her dreams. Determined that her son would not become a statistic, Cathy Hughes went on to attend The University of Nebraska-Omaha with her son in tow. That’s right, she brought the baby to class. This is the first of many times in the interview where one would expect Cathy to negatively reflect on a challenging situation but she doesn’t. Instead she happily explains how easy it was for her to work and pursue her studies while her son was a baby because all he did was eat and sleep. There is no doubt in my mind, that being a teen mother, working full-time, and pursuing a degree was challenging, but Cathy’s resilience and positive energy once again outshine the negatives in the situation.

Keynote: It’s all apart of your story. Don’t let it stop you, let it fuel you! Too often we sit around and hold pity parties about every challenge that could possibly deter us from our goals. Let’s let that habit die! Embrace the challenge. Move with it! Your story is yours and no one else’s, so don’t allow the challenge to shape you, allow the challenge to propel you either farther into your purpose. Ready, Set, Grow!

  • “If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well. “(Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.)

When asked how she got to where she is today, Cathy Hughes referenced the aforementioned streetsweeper quote by Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Through interning at University of Nebraska’s radio station, and capturing the attention of Tony Brown, a visiting African American radio personality, to being recruited by Brown about 10 years later to work at Howard University’s radio station, as he was beginning his position as the school’s first dean for the newly established School of Communications, to creating the station’s highly successful radio show,The Quiet storm, and also putting one of the first openly gay radio personalities on air, Cathy Hughes consistently did her best at the job she was given. Cathy did such a great job at Howard, that she was recruited to rebuild another station and then run it. It was at this station that the idea to own a station was sparked.

Keynote: Are you discounting part of your story because its not glamorous? Stop it! Trust that there is value in your life, and everything in it. You may not be where you thought you would be at this point in your life, but it is part of your path. This stage, this place is preparing you for what’s next. You are there on purpose, so don’t wait to tomorrow or for a more glamorous title to do your best. Do your best now, not for your boss or your company, or even your family, but for yourself. RESPECT YOUR PATH.

  • If you think you’re smart enough, do it yourself!”

These were the words that a station owner spoke to Cathy Hughes when she asked for equity in the station. After turning the station around and running it successfully, the station owners asked her to reach out to financiers on behalf of the station because they were running out of money. Knowing her worth, Cathy explained that this was well beyond her job duties, however, she would be willing to do it, if she was given equity in the station. Appalled that Cathy, young, Black, and female, thought that she could own a radio station, the owner told Cathy that if she thought she was smart enough, she should go own her own radio station. Rather than take it as an insult, Cathy took it to the bank! After 32 rejections from lending institutions, and everyone around her telling her she was crazy, she got the one yes that was needed to buy a station. After that yes, Cathy went on to experience her share of struggle from losing her marriage, living in the radio station for three years with her son, and not being able to pay her debt, however she never looked back, and she never lost her faith in God or herself.

Keynote: Cathy speaks on her spirituality throughout the interview. If you are a spiritual person and you truly believe in God, how can you not believe in yourself? Its important to know your motivators and intentions for your work. If your motivation is to impress people, then your belief in yourself and your work is based on the opinions of others. When trying to build something new or do something different, you can’t be fueled by others’ opinions or you will never get there. If God put a seed in you, a purpose, then you have to believe that He will help you achieve it. Don’t be distracted. The only person whose belief in you is vital to your success is not the lender, your boss, your mother, or your spouse, the only person who HAS to believe in you is YOU.

When Guy Raz asked the question that I wondered about throughout the entire interview, “Is this unshakable belief in yourself and positive energy and passion in spite of all of the challenges an acquired skill that others can learn or is it just something that you are born with?” Ms. Hughes responds that it is definitely an acquired skill. She explains, ” If you allow yourself to be bogged down and lose your enthusiasm, you are dead in the water. But if you remain optimistic, cheerful, and committed to your goal, there is nothing that can stop you.”

 

Checkout NPR’s “How I Built This” podcast at http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510313/how-i-built-this .

U R Higher Ed: What is the FAFSA?

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Congratulations, recent high school grads and returning adults! If you are entering college for the first time or after a long hiatus, give yourself a pat on the back for having the courage to change your life, the strength to be vulnerable while learning something new, and the self-awareness to know that there is always more to learn and opportunities for growth. While this time can be exciting, many entering college freshmen are shaking in their boots, especially those of us who are first-generation college students. With only counselors to navigate you through the enrollment process, and the common fear of “sounding stupid”, we often don’t ask the questions that we desperately need answers to, and instead rush to our phones to google “What is a Fafsa”, “How to pick classes”, and other questions that get our heart beating and cause our mind to lie to us with that entirely dumb, baseless, anxiety-provoking belief that “We do not belong.” Did I mention how big of a lie that is? Don’t believe it. Ask questions, and research until you get your answers. Not only can you, but you WILL do this. You got it in the bag, and knowing that you are the about to enhance your educational institution of choice in a great way with your different perspectives, knowledge of self, and resilience, I am jumping at the opportunity to share whatever tools I can to help you along your journey, basically, I want to get in on your greatness!

First step to greatness, how are we paying for this thing? Meet FAFSA.

 

What is FAFSA, and why is everyone always talking about it?
Great question. When I worked in enrollment, I said the word FAFSA so much that I forgot what it stood for. The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is just that, an application. To make it simple, it’s a government application where you apply for funding for college.
Funding? Are you referring to loans?
Not solely. Once the application is processed, you receive an award letter. The award letter details all the different funds you are eligible to receive. These funding sources include loans and grants. Loans, you must pay back, but grants, are free money aka a college student’s best friend. You then get to choose what awards you accept. For example, if your institution’s tuition is $40k a year, and you are awarded $30k in grants and $10k in loans, you can decide to accept the $30k in grants and decline the $10k in loans, which you can make up out-of-pocket, scholarships, or maybe a private loan (one that is not through the FAFSA and you apply for separately.)
How does the government determine how much money I am awarded?
The FAFSA requires your and/or your parents’ tax information, meaning you must put in information backed on your filing. In years past, you were permitted to use the previous year’s tax return, but this year, the requirements have loosened up a bit more, and you can go as far as two years back. This is helpful for those who did not file on time for the FAFSA deadline but need to apply.
Wait. What? There’s a deadline?
Don’t be that person on July 1st attempting to fill out a FAFSA for the upcoming Academic Year. For Academic Year 2017-18, the Federal Deadline is June 30, 2018 at midnight. Your State and School deadlines may be before this. This is important to know since many schools don’t process FAFSA applications after a certain date, effecting money, if any, you could have been offered from the school. The State deadline effects any grant money that you may be offered from the State.
Check out Federal and State deadlines for the 2017-2018 Academic Year at https://fafsa.ed.gov/deadlines.htm# .
My parents, or I, make too much. I’m positive I won’t receive any aid. Should I apply?
I recommend ALL students apply. Even if you do not qualify for grants, may scholarships require that you submit a FAFSA before applying. Also, you might be surprised, and qualify for a grant. With the increasingly high cost of tuition in the United States of America, which is another conversation all on its own, every little bit counts, so don’t take the chance of missing out on a few extra dollars.
Where can I find the FAFSA?

Although in the past the FAFSA is not made available until January, this year the FAFSA has been available since October. It can be found at https://fafsa.ed.gov . If you somehow end up on a site requiring you to pay for the FAFSA, do not pass go, do not collect $20, because you, my friend, are in the wrong place. If you need help completing your FAFSA, contact your institution of interest or local community college. Community Colleges typically offer workshops and one-on-one support. Also, be mindful, just because you list a school on your FAFSA, you are not committed to attending that school, so list every college you are interested in. You can also go back and add other schools after your application is submitted.
Happy Filing, and Be Great!

Hidden Figures- Women In STEM Scholarships!!!

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If you’ve been to the movies lately or happen to watch primetime TV, you have probably seen the previews for Hidden Figures, the biographical tale of three African American women who served as the computational brains behind the launch of Astronaut John Glenn into Orbit. African American? Women? Human computers?  Even today, the majority of us would equate that to seeing a unicorn, so imagine the struggles and barriers these women had to overcome in 1962. Feel inspired? Great, because PepsiCo and 21st Century Fox are partnering to help you continue the fight of breaking barriers in STEM and changing the world by awarding up to $200,000 in scholarships with their “Search for Hidden Figures” contest. The contest is open to all female-identifying residents of the United States, 13 or older who are interested in changing the world through Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. To learn more about this contest, and to enter the search, click here . Applications are due by 12/10/2016. Be great!

 

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3 Lessons From “My Voice: A Memoir”: Angie Martinez

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Women in Radio, Entry # 2 “My Voice” Angie Martinez

You don’t need to be a Hip Hop enthusiast to know who Angie Martinez is. The Puerto Rican New Yorker who worked her way up from intern to Radio Legend at Hot 97, has not only conducted some of the biggest and greatest interviews in Hip Hop history, but she also put out an album, co-wrote a healthy, Latin cuisine cookbook, and has managed to create a lane for young woman of color to not only have their voice heard on the airwaves, but respected. Angie Martinez’s journey is inspiring for women and men of all backgrounds who strive to be the best in their careers and in life. This entry of “Women in Radio” is my three lessons for career and life from Angie Martinez’s Memoir, My Voice: A Memoir.

1. Get Still and Go Within

When speaking about her infamous interview with Tupac during the height of the West Coast VS. East Coast beef, Angie tells us that although everyone wanted to hear the interview, help her edit it, and give opinions about what she should or should not release, ultimately Angie decided to disregard and ignore their opinions, and sit alone in stillness, and eventually, edit the interview on her own.

“I’m a person who likes to get quiet. And then once I’ve kind of figured it out, I may pick people’s brains about how to do it. Nobody else is going to have to deal with the repercussions but me.” (My Voice: A Memoir, Angie Martinez).

Angie emphasizes this need for stillness throughout the book, whether it be in the middle of the East Coast VS. West Coast feud, when making decisions about jumping into unfamiliar territories as an artist, or being slandered by artists or disgruntled listeners.

Key Note: Go within. It sounds obvious, but don’t forget that only YOU have to live your life, YOU have to deal with the consequences of your decisions, so make sure your final decision always comes from within.

2. Jump at the Opportunity, Even if it was Unexpected

Angie had no plans or desire to create an album or be a rapper, but when famed MC, KRS-One, suggested she rap on one of his tracks, she could not turn him down. She was admittedly nervous. She tried to not only talk herself out of it, but also KRS-One, however, she went through with it and made it out alive. In fact, the feature led her to the opportunity to appear on Lil Kim’s Ladies’ Night track, perform on the MTV Awards, and eventually, create her own album. Although Angie didn’t continue her career as a rapper, she accredits it to making her a better interviewer. Knowing the ins and outs of making an album, Angie is able to relate and ask stronger questions when interviewing artists.

The book begins with Angie writing us on her last day at Hot 97. It is a momentous occasion filled with emotion. With crying co-workers, texts of shock from celebrity friends, and social media in shambles, Angie has just announced that she is leaving Hot 97, and the next day the announcement will be made that she is joining Power 105.1, the competing station. What do we learn from this? A successful career and even a full life is not complete without taking risks.

Key Note: Don’t live your life in fear! Even if the opportunity doesn’t grant you the expected or common result, it can still enhance your life in other ways. Every risk is an opportunity for expansion!

3. Authenticity is KEY.

From figuring out interviewing and learning to host radio on the job and on the air, to breaking down announcing the death of Tupac Shakur, to crying on the local news when asked to explain the impact of Notorious BIG’s death on the Hip Hop community, to opening up the airwaves for an outpour of emotion on 9/11, Angie has earned her name as “The Voice of New York” through raw and utter authenticity. Trending before social media, Angie’s success is not built on image and fluff, but on authenticity, skill, and drive. In a day and age where careers are built on selfies and filters, Angie Martinez is a role model for creating not only a career but a life built on being true to yourself and others.

As the late Tupac Shakur wrote:

 

2 Angie Martinez

4 Being true when false behavior was fashionable

4 Never dirtying my name on the air

4 Being what is so hard to find

Key Note: The win is sweeter when you win as yourself.

 

Angie Martinez’s Memoir, My Voice: A Memoir, is available at major book retailers, as well as http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-voice-angie-martinez/1123112079 . Paperbacks are available for pre-order, but not physically available until March 7th, 2017.

5 Gems From Angela Yee on The Combat Jack Show: Old Interview, Still Relevant

Episodic Introduction Of Darnaa Hosted By Angela Yee at Le Foret New Orleans on February 16, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

(Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images for Echoing Soundz)

Women in Radio: Entry #1

Most recently, I came across an old interview with Power 105.1 Radio Personality, Angela Yee, on The Combat Jack Show, and as an Angela Yee fan, and lover of Entertainment and Media (fyi, my educational background is in Mass Media and Communication Studies), I found the interview to be entertaining, as well as inspiring for those who may feel lost on their career journey. For the first post from my 3 post “Women in Radio” series, check out my 5 Gems from Angela Yee on The Combat Jack Show.

1) If they don’t get it now. They’ll get it later.

Angela Yee’s parents weren’t the most supportive of her career choice. Angela says that her parents were always big on education, so one could assume that her pursuit of a career in entertainment wasn’t what they had in mind when they sent her to the best schools. However, Angela says that now that she is successful, she gets along with her parents just fine. In fact, she recently bought her father a new car.

Key Note: Don’t wait for people to support you, or give you the “okay” before you chase your dreams. You have to believe in yourself first. They may not believe in you now, but they can’t deny the WORK.

2) Reject The Lie That Quitting a Job is Career Suicide.

Angela Yee worked several jobs, not only before landing her current position with The Breakfast Club, but before ever working in radio. Graduating with a degree in English and goals of becoming a writer and photographer, Angela Yee worked in a variety of jobs and industries, before landing in radio. In fact, her first job after college lasted two days. She hated it so much that she quit. Now, Angela Yee is a millionaire, working in a job that she loves but was not her dream job in college. She still has plans to write a book one day, but her path to getting there, has been full of even more fun twists and turns than she imagined.

Key Note: Don’t stay anywhere you aren’t being fed. If you can take care of yourself, don’t feel guilty for quitting jobs and trying new things until you find your perfect fit, and remember, what fits you now, may not fit you in the future. You have the right to explore, grow, and live your life. Never, ever live your life in fear of what others will say.

3)Take a Chance! 

Angela Yee was terminated from the job before her jump into radio, and a “jump” is exactly what landed her into the role that is responsible for catapulting her into the powerful voice you hear through your speakers today. While Angela was looking for her next job, and interviewing for other gigs that fell in line with her past experiences, someone told her about an audition for a radio personality at Sirius. Angela, who had no radio background, thought “Why not?”, took a chance, landed the gig, and is now one of the biggest radio personalities in the country.

Key Note: Are you playing it safe? Did an opportunity present itself that doesn’t make “sense” but it invigorates and excites you? Go for it! Take a chance and step out on Faith. Plans change, and your path is never as direct as you map it out to be. Don’t be afraid to change course in search of something better.

4)Brand Name? Know Your Worth.

Angela was offered a job at the famous, Hot 97, while she was still working at Sirius. Hot 97 offered Angela less money than she was making at Sirius, a show where she would have a limited voice, and no visibility or presence in the name of the show. Why would they think this was acceptable? Well, Angela believes Hot 97 considered the station’s reputation and popularity to be enough for Angela to join “the winning team.” Angela turned down the offer, and decided to stick it out at Sirius where she had her own show until a better offer came around. Shortly thereafter, Angela Yee joined Power 105.1’s “The Breakfast Club” and now it’s one of the biggest radio shows in the country.

Key Note: From personal experience, I cannot stress enough how important it is to not be fooled by the “brand” when accepting a job. Too often we fall in love with the status of a company’s brand and what they appear to be, only to find out after joining their team that their company culture or the job itself is no where near as glamorous or progressive as we may have thought. Remember to base your career decisions less on Brand Names and more on how they fit with your personal path and desires.

5) Competition? None.

The Breakfast Club personalities don’t try to compete with other stations and shows. According to Angela, she doesn’t even listen to other stations. They focus on doing what they do the best. Whether it is Charlamagne The God going farther than most are comfortable with in his quest to get genuine interviews and be transparent, or DJ Envy maintaining a presence in the clubs to play the music that people really want to hear, or Angela Yee providing the details on some of the biggest stories in pop culture while keeping the peace during dynamic interviews, The Breakfast Club and Angela Yee have mastered the art of staying true to themselves.

Key Note: Don’t crash because your head is turned worrying about what’s going on behind you or in the next lane. Your path is yours alone, so the only person you must compete with is the person you were yesterday. Be successful at being you!

 

If you don’t mind a little profanity and a truly raw conversation (Rated Mature), you can check out Angela Yee’s interview on The Combat Jack Show at https://soundcloud.com/thecombatjackshow/the-angela-yee-episode .

UPDATE: Angela recently interviewed with Combat Jack for Hennessy’s “Never Stop, Never Settle” podcast. Check it out here.

 

You Got ALL The Answers

Sure, we experience the desire to fit in from the time we start school. Some of us even experienced it in our families and households, hence the term “Black Sheep.” Society as a whole consists of socializing or training humans to disregard or fight against the innate calling to be themselves, and adopt the beliefs, behaviors, and values of the majority. Over time, these beliefs, behaviors, and values become the norm, and everyone who decides not to subscribe to these norms is deemed “wrong”, “troubled”, or my favorite “weird”. But this is a blog on higher education and career, why is this relevant? School and Corporate America are major institutions that create intense pressure to conform and disassociate with who you really are; The Source.

I began this blog to share tips, experiences, guidance, and thought provoking content on issues affecting people of color, women, and other members of marginalized groups in educational institutions and on various career paths. Although I hope my content enhances your life, I must be clear that I never, and I mean NEVER, want to suggest that my way is the only way or that you should overwrite your own internal GPS to follow the directions you find on this site. I am currently reading “The Vortex: The Law of Attraction”, and it has opened my eyes to how much we ignore our own internal GPS and follow the directions of others. For example, I know deep down within what I want to do with this blog. I want to inspire and uplift others, especially those in my community, while expressing myself creatively on topics that I care about. Do I want it to grow into a full-time business? Not really, at least not right now or anytime soon. I’m not ready to give up working for companies full-time yet. To me, this is an outlet, a hobby. But in the age of millennial entrepreneurship and #BossBabes, everything is about working on your own and for yourself, or turning your hobby into a business, and honestly, I am not there yet. That is not what I want with blogging or freelancing. One day, I might be a full-time entrepreneur. I actually visualize it all the time, but when I am completely in alignment with myself, I know that I need to work for others for at least a few more years. There is so much that I am eager to learn, people who I have yet to meet, and projects that I am looking forward to be a part of. Where I am, as far as being an employee, is where I need to be right now, and I can’t feel guilty about that at all. This is part of my path, my course, my PROCESS.

What about you? Is there something you want to do, someone you want to be, or some things that you want to walk away from? Are you living a life based on the directions of others, or are you truly aligned with your Source? You know, the truest version of yourself, the bigger YOU? If so, rip up the maps of others, turn off the On-Star Navigation, and go deep within to YOU. Where do you need to go? What do you need to do? WHO ARE YOU? Follow what’s within, and you will never go wrong. This isn’t always simple, and it takes a great deal of practice. Trust me, I know, I am on this journey with you. The Law of Attraction is funny, because just recently I’ve been praying about, researching, and asking my Mom (she’s everything to me), how to let go of the need for validation on my path. I couldn’t figure out why I always needed to talk every move over with the people closest to me before I made it. Why I needed to hear someone on a podcast say it was okay to do what wanted to do. I always needed validation, and took the words of others as confirmation, which was futile. That’s when I came across “The Vortex: The Law of Attraction”, which I wasn’t looking for and I swear it found me. It confirmed what I always knew in my bigger self, that no one else can tell you what is best for your life, because they don’t know, or in the words of Kanye West, “They ain’t got the answers, Sway.” You know who has the answers? The cheat code of all cheat codes? YOU!!! If you’re spiritual, you may say, “You mean God, Caressa.” and as a Believer myself, I’m not trying to shade the Big Man, I’m just saying, God, The Universe, The Source, or whatever name you call him by is not outside of you but WITHIN YOU.You have to go within. Your happiness can’t come from outside. Your success is not defined by the next person’s definition. To get to where you are purposed, you have to be in alignment with You. So whatever brought you to this site or to open a self-help book, or to listen to an insightful, podcast make sure it is only an enhancement, for what The Source is already telling You, don’t look to others for the answers, because quite frankly, we ain’t got it.

Company Culture VS. Departmental Culture: Why You Should Know the Difference

photo by https://unsplash.com/@eddyray

photo by https://unsplash.com/@eddyray

 

You’ve read the Human Resources page through and through, and you are convinced that this is the company where you will not only fit in perfectly, but thrive and grow. We are dedicated to a promoting a culture that encourages Work/Life Balance.” you read, while smiling. Great, because I am dedicated to having work/life balance.” you think. You read on and on about open door policies, promoting from within, professional development, and the immense value this company places on its employees. You, my friend, are sold. Before you sign your name on the dotted line of your Offer Letter, be sure to take the time to try to gauge the departmental culture, because it can be very different from the bigger picture promoted in the Employee Handbook, in your interview with HR, and from the company website. Here are 3 things to consider when assessing departmental culture with a potential employer.

1.Who is your boss?

Look behind the smiling face or stern look from the interview, and really research your boss. With industry publications readily available online and LinkedIn at your fingertips, there really is no excuse not to research your boss, because guess what? Your boss has definitely researched you!

How long has he or she been in this role? What was their previous experience? Have they been in management before? These are all great questions to ask to help determine whether or not your departmental culture will be as great of a fit as the company culture. For example, if your goal is to learn as much as possible about the industry, and your boss is also new to the field or industry, this particular position may not meet your professional development needs.

Although it is not too common, if you have access to others who have worked with or for your boss, it would be valuable to gain some intel on how your boss works. Is he or she a micro-manager? What does the turnover look like for you bosses direct reports? What is his or her professional reputation? Just like company culture, bosses come in a variety of styles, approaches, and quirks. It is important for you to find one who brings out the best in you.

 

2. Communication: Who said what to who and when? Why?

Remember the game of telephone where everyone sat or stood in a circle and whispered the “same” message, and the last person to receive the message shouted it aloud? Usually it started with something like “The elephant is pink.” and ended with a version of “L-M-N-O-P in a sink.” Well, in the professional world, many messages are communicated throughout the department and company daily. The accuracy of the message by the time it gets to you can dictate how effective you are in your job. For this reason, it is important to gain a sense of the communication protocol in your office. Does everything trickle down from the top to the bottom? Are you allowed to communicate directly with your boss’s boss? Is the department’s primary mean of communication emails or conference calls or meetings? Try to gain a sense of departmental communication protocol before saying “Yes” to that new position, it will save you from many headaches after the fact.

3. Morale:How is the energy?

Trust me when I tell you that a company itself can be great. The company can have a strong mission that aligns with your own, company-wide employee appreciation events, professional development opportunities, and more, and your department can still be a dark, miserable place. We all know that one co-worker who always has a complaint, is never happy, and is determined to make everyone else miserable as well. Be careful when accepting your new position that you are not joining a team of unhappy people who take pleasure in stirring up discontentment. Although you may be mentally and emotionally strong, negativity is contagious. Avoid a misery infested department by all means. How do you do this? By meeting the team before you accept the position.

I, personally, believe that departmental culture is way more important than company culture. After-all, your department is “really” where you work. You will have more contact with your departmental team than anyone else in the company, and often outside of the company. With Americans spending more time at work than with their families and friends, it is important that we practice self-care by choosing to work in environments that uplift, fulfill, and encourage us to be our authentic selves.

 

 

 

Researching Company Culture: Where to Look

researc-upsplash

In our last “Corporate Culture” post, we explained what corporate culture is and why it is necessary to research a company’s culture, not only before an interview, but before you even apply. Now that we have told you what to look for to ensure you are a great fit, it’s time to discuss where to look. Here are 3 Places that can provide you with the inside scoop on your dream company’s culture:

  1. The Internet

Duh. We all know that. While I hope so, you would be surprised of the amount of people who have not adopted Google as a verb. The internet is the cheat code to life, so why would it not be the first place you go to research your prospective company. Although I didn’t do the best job of researching my present company, I was sure to google the company, and pay attention to any news articles, blog posts, and non-company issued content. Although the company’s website can provide you with great information about benefits and the culture they would like to have, you must go to those who have nothing to benefit when attempting to get the real deal on the company. Did lawsuits show up during your search? If so, pay attention. Are there a lot of former employees bashing them on Social Media? If so, pay attention. Do all of their higher-ups have a certain trait in common? Ex: all men, all of the same race, all of the same age, etc. If so, pay attention. These are all things to consider when determining your growth potential, possibility of happiness in the workplace, and job deal breakers. Two of my go-to websites to research company culture are LinkedIn and Glassdoor. Be sure to pay these sites a visit, but also remember to take all negative feedback from former employees with a grain of salt, as they could just be disgruntled. If you see the same complaint multiple times, I would strongly suggest you err on the side of caution.

 

  1. Visit

If the company is service-based, and has a public location, then stop by and observe the culture. I’ll never forget a time right after college where I stopped by a local spa to get a massage courtesy of a gift card from my Mama on Christmas. The spa was new to the area, and I had been considering applying there for a Sales Associate role, in hopes of making a little extra money while searching for a job in my field. As I sat in the reception area completing my Massage paperwork, I heard someone whom I assumed was the manager, yelling at a crying Sales Associate. “This is not the first time we’ve discussed this, Amanda (not the correct name, I’m sure)! You need to fulfill a quota every week! You are not hitting your marks! This is unacceptable!” The manager screamed from the backroom. I was so uncomfortable that I wanted to leave, but it was a free massage so I didn’t. Don’t judge me. Nevertheless, I saw Amanda on my way out and her eyes were red from crying. The Associate who walked me into the massage room even asked me was my job hiring, and told me how much he hated it there. Needless to say, I never applied.

 

  1. Phone a Friend

Nope. Unfortunately, this is not “How to be a Millionaire,” and I am not the handsome older gentleman who reads the questions with a whole lot of swag, but like the show, phoning a friend can help you make money. Have you ever heard that saying “Your network determines your net-worth”? Well it is true. Often as first-generation college students and the first in our families to step into Corporate America or the professional world, we don’t have as great of a professional network as some of our peers, but that doesn’t mean we cannot grow one by appreciating and working the one that we have. Reach out to your friends and ask if they know of someone who works or has worked at your company of interest, and after being introduced, reach out to get the real deal on the company from a credible source. Also, utilize the connections of former co-workers who you developed a good working relationship with, and be sure to smile and make small talk with the people you meet in line at Wal-Mart or in the gym. You never know who can help catapult you into your destiny.

 

Stay encouraged in your research, and join us next week for Departmental VS. Organization Culture: There’s a Difference.

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