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Getting Comfortable With Discomfort for Career Success

These days, the topic of “daring greatly” has been circulating around various social media platforms. The idea of “daring greatly” originally comes from Teddy Roosevelt who said:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

More recently, Dr. Brené Brown, a researcher on courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy, has spoken at great lengths about this topic. One of the most popular TED Talks of all time is her speech on the power of vulnerability. You may ask how the idea of daring greatly will help you in your work life. It’s because the times we take risks are the moments when we grow. Stepping outside one’s comfort zone can often lead to the greatest breakthroughs. How this translates to work is that by “daring greatly” that might mean speaking up in board meetings, taking a creative risk, giving feedback, or voicing the challenges you are facing at work. These perceived personal risks can be instrumental in your career and company success.

Let’s say you are completely on board with the idea of daring greatly and leaning into vulnerability. The next step is to create an office culture that supports its employees to take risks and get comfortable with the idea of failure. In order for companies to grow and innovate they have to be willing to try new things and push boundaries. None of this can be done without vulnerability. Once companies recognize that and encourage their teams to try new things, and risk failure in the process of doing so, great things can happen.

I hope this blog was helpful for you to consider the possibility that allowing yourself to be vulnerable will take you further in your personal and professional life. It isn’t easy, it isn’t always fun, but we can all grow and learn so much by taking risks and being authentic and vulnerable.

Getting Comfortable With Discomfort for Career Success

Internships – To Pay or Not To Pay

With summer quickly approaching, many college students are considering taking on summer internships. According to, an internship is defined as “any official or formal program to provide practical experience for beginners in an occupation or profession.” Nowhere does it talk about pay! The most important element of internships is that they incorporate classroom knowledge and theory with practical application and skills developed in a professional environment. Internships are a great way to learn from experts in your desired field, gain relevant work experience, and in some cases provide a way to get your foot in the door at a company you want to work for long term. So, in evaluating internships pay is obviously a factor, but there are other things to consider.

Paid internships in many instances are recruiting grounds for the company to attract the best and brightest coming out of the schools they prefer to recruit from. There is some knowledge gained in these internships, but the primary objective for the company is to secure the graduates they want before graduation. This is very prevalent in accounting where interns are wined and dined while also building personal relationships with those already at the firm. Unpaid internships have stricter labor laws than paid internships and those laws have recently been under the microscope after a slew of lawsuits over the legality of having unpaid interns. Whether or not an unpaid internship is legal depends on federal, state and local laws; for instance in California unpaid interns must receive college credit for their work. Over the last decade there have been lawsuits and settlements made over unpaid internships with some of the largest lawsuits with 21st Century Fox, Conde Nast, NBCUniversal, Hearst Corporation and ICM. The United States Department of Labor now has a requirements test for companies to determine whether or not it’s legal to have unpaid interns.

In addition to the legal ramifications of unpaid internships there are also the moral and ethical arguments against unpaid interns. One argument over unpaid internships is that these roles are essentially entry level jobs and companies are getting around having to pay wages by hiring interns to do these roles. Another case against unpaid internships is that it disproportionately benefits those that come from wealthier families: typically those that are able to take on unpaid internships are middle-to-upper class and these internships give them a leg up once they enter the workforce. A recent study showed that, in addition to a higher GPA, multiple internships helped increase the odds of college students securing a full time role within 6 months of graduation.

With the recent settlements and increasing student college debt, the trend seems to be more in the direction of paid internships vs. unpaid internships. Most employers (apart from non-profit companies) have the financial means to pay for interns and being financially compensated offers a level playing field for students of all financial means to get the valuable experience that internships provide.

The decision to pay or not is the employers, but regardless the prospective interns also have a choice in taking that internship or not. Here are five things you should be considering in an internship regardless of whether it’s paid or not.

  1. Will I be gaining specific experience in the field I am interested in pursuing after college?

  2. What valuable networking contacts or opportunities might this internship provide me?

  3. What soft skills might I learn thru this internship and the people I will be working alongside? Skills related to leadership, problem-solving, communication and teamwork can all be learned through an internship.

  4. Will this internship help in building a strong resume when compared to my peers?

  5. Do I feel this internship will give me insight in to what I may like or dislike in a specific job, a particular industry or in a particular environment/culture?

I hope this helps as you consider offer or doing internships, their financial structure and their ultimate value.

Internships – To Pay or Not To Pay

Pete Answers Your Questions

In this week’s episode of Hard work-ah with Pete the Job Guy, Pete answers your burning questions and shares his tips and suggestions on what to do if you are currently unemployed and trying to land your next job. We’ve all had career highs and lows and by sharing one’s experience and tips we can all learn and grow together.

Pete starts off the episode with his suggestions on what to do if you’re currently unemployed and the steps you should take to land your next gig.

  1. The first suggestion is to realize that your current job is now to find a new role. Spend the hours you normally would at work focused and determined on finding your next role. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile, expand your network, and spend each moment looking for a job.

  2. The second tip is to build your personal brand. In today’s current environment your social media pages, LinkedIn profile, and networking groups are key to help you land your next role. Get a professional headshot taken for your LinkedIn profile and make sure everything is up to date.

  3. The third suggestion is to consider getting a temp role while you are on the job search. Even if the role is technically below your level, you will likely pick up new skills and it will prevent you from having a gap on your resume which can be a red flag for hiring managers.

  4. The forth tip is to perfect your resume. You will want to tailor your resume to the job you are applying for. The buckshot approach of sending out the same resume to a bunch of companies doesn’t work – you need to have a rifle-shot approach. Take the time to research the role and company and tailor your resume accordingly to reflect the skills you have that would appeal to that company.

  5. Finally, the fifth tip is to let your friends and network know you are on the market. Don’t let your pride get in the way of telling others that you’re looking for a new role. They may know of companies hiring that would be a great fit for you.

In addition to the tips above, Pete always answers some of your top questions.

Question 1: A restaurant server wants to change their career path but worries that the money won’t be as good in an entry-level role. What should they do?

Answer: Sometimes to get on the path you want to be you need to take a financial setback. Essentially, you need to take a step back to take a step forward. Once you come to terms with this, you will want to prepare for the financial setback and save money while you can to hold you over with the new role that begins with a lesser salary. Another tip is that while you are interviewing ask if there is a possibility to EARN an annual raise or if there are incentive bonuses that can also be earned. Another option is that if you are in a role that has flexibility on hours (such as the restaurant industry) you may be able to take on a role in the field you want to switch to while you continue supplementing your income with your current job.

Question 2: This person has been in the same job for 10 years and there is no opportunity for advancement. What should they do? 

Answer: First, clarify what it is you want to do and ask yourself if you are currently qualified to do that? If not, what steps do you need to take to become qualified? It’s also important to do some introspective work and ask yourself if there was anything you could have done to grow with the company. Finally, it’s important when you are interviewing to make sure there are growth opportunities with the company you are interviewing with that way this situation doesn’t happen.

Question 3: An employee at a company that was recently acquired is nervous they may lose their job because of this change. Should they be looking for a new role?

Answer: With acquisitions and mergers the company often looks at and evaluates what roles are now duplicated and eliminates one of the roles if the other person is able to take on the added responsibility. There is a possibility that your role may be the one that is cut, so it’s important you are prepared for that outcome. Now is the time to update your resume and join networking groups.

Question 4: Pete, what advice would you give your younger self?

Answer: The advice I would give my younger self is to always work your hardest and work to better yourself. Know and accept that you will fail but that it will be ok and you will grow from those experiences. When you fall pick yourself back up and keep moving forward.

Pete Answers Your Questions

Soft Skills are Essential to Job Security and Success

When it comes to job security, soft skills are key. Technical skills matter but soft skills matter too…a great deal. If one has technical skills but no soft skills, this can hinder job success. Soft skills such as comprehensive listening and holding eloquent conversations are important when it comes to personal growth at work. Building trust is vital when it means a positive work relationship. Soft skills allow one to manage their emotions and communicate effectively. Managing emotions matters when it comes to work relationships between managers and workers and between colleagues in general. One must manage their emotions in order to show soft skills such as effective listening, understanding, shared vision and more. The ability to influence one’s peers comes from the soft skills of communication and getting the message across. Empathy is essential when it comes to positive work relationships, and being able to show and express empathy is a key soft skill in order to show understanding for one’s managers and peers alike. Soft skills allow workers to build trust in themselves and their colleagues and trust allows for positive working relationships. This leads to a strong organization. This leads to effective problem-solving and reaching personal goals and the goals of the organization in which one works.

Soft Skills are Essential to Job Security and Success