My Life is Amazing… BUT….a 20 Something #firstworldproblem

Credit: Ben Moore

Credit: Ben Moore

We live in a society of buts. Not not big ones that can’t lie but the act of ending every sentence with something negative. I met Hugh Jackman, but I really wanted to meet Zac Efron instead. I lost 3 kilos this week, but my eyebrows are so weirdly shaped. You get the idea.

And today I found myself committing this terrible sin and sharing with a friend all of my awfully pathetic #firstworldproblems. This is a little of how our conversation went.

HER: Wow so are you excited for Vietnam?

ME: Yeah totally! But I’ve got so many things to do, organise my visa, put some cash on my travel card, renew my gym membership and I don’t have any time this weekend because the BF is taking me on a romantic long weekend away to Sydney to wine and dine and see The Lion King. Like when am I going to find time to pack? Ugh I’m so stressed.

Seriously, I wanted to punch myself in the face.

But the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one. So my name is Sarah and I cannot just be grateful and full present soaking in the incredible life I have at the moment and the opportunities available to me. And this needs to change.

20 somethings are the king of #firstworldproblems (like we actually invented the term) and I can see why. Unfortunately, in this world of dog eat dog, it is not seen as “cool” to just sit and bask in your own awesomeness. You always need to be seen as busy, or frantically working to solve world hunger, or pumping out an RPM class and completing War and Peace at the same time. Don’t worry I have been there, I am as driven as the next person, but am realising it is coming at the cost of watching my current achievements whoosh past my nose faster than Kim Kardashians first wedding (and let’s face it probably second).

So my advice? When you get asked how are things going in your life just say it how it is. If you have been kicking awesome goals at work, smashed your 5km time at the gym or had the perfect girls weekend away just say it. There is no need for embellishments about how you’re totally not ready for a marathon though, or that you should have spent that girls weekend working on your home business. Just let it come out and not be squashed by the negatives. It’s like that ad for Bam Shower Scrub: BAM! And the Buts Are Gone!

So on that note, let me know in the comments if you are guilty of this sometimes and what you do to try and keep the butts at bay.

Much love and till later

Sez xx

20 Somethings: Confident or Cocky?

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Credit: Wojtek Witkowski

We’ve all seen The Social Network and know the story of Mark Zuckerberg, who created Facebook, made a whole lot of enemies and basically took over the world. Some people are disgusted by his ruthless tactics and unrelenting drive, while others lie awake at night wishing they themselves had the power to harness even a little of those qualities.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on what side of the fence you sit on, the Mark Zuckerbergs of our 20 something generation have infected us all with their characteristics, causing the wider public to question: 20 somethings, confident or cocky? 

To understand why we are the way we are, we need to delve back into our pasts and see the key messages 20 somethings were taught as we grew up. They of course vary in language and syntax but go a little something like this:

1. “You are special and unique and have a rare gift the share with the world”

2. “You can be anything you want to be when you grow up, all you have to do is dream”

3. “All people big and small, from different lands and colours should all be considered equal”

4. “If you don’t eat the crusts of your bread your hair will go curly and you mustn’t get up out of bed on Christmas Eve night or Santa won’t come”.

You get the drift.

After absorbing these messages day in and day out being rewarded emotionally, physically, spiritually and even financially for following these guidelines, the glaringly confident 20 something was born. Prepare your sunnies for these ones folks. 

Fast forward 20 years and the fruits of having such an attitude is totally paying off. We’ve gone through further education or have worked our way up the workplace ladder at lightening speed. We have a good group of friends, and are quick to dump those that aren’t and know we look smokin in this season’s new Wayne Cooper. We don’t just pick up any old guy on Friday night and consult our 10 point “dream man list” before starting the “so where are we going conversation”. Ultimately, in all facets of our lives we know what we want, and are prepared to go out and get it. Right. Now.

Is this cocky? Conceited? The habits of a spoiled brat whose parents bought her too many Barbies? I’m going to go out on a limb and say no. We’ve simply learnt a life lesson that has been around for centuries but seems to have been forgotten in prior generations plagued by war, depression and domestic duties: you don’t get anything in life unless you think you deserve it. That is definitely not to say 20 somethings aren’t prepared to work hard or are ignorant of the obstacles life can throw, but more so that despite the challenges we are supremely confident in our ability to one day get there.

Confidence can be confused with cockiness when combined with a little toxin called jealousy. The only time I’ve accused a fellow 20 something of being cocky is when I’ve been jealous that I wasn’t confident enough in that situation to go out there and grab life by the balls myself. If you don’t think you are good enough for that job/promotion/world travel/handsome husband or elite athlete children then how do you expect anyone else to think you are worthy? And if you don’t have sincere confidence to reach for goals past your fingertips then what are you even doing here?

Sure we are confident, some would call us cocky. But with Mark Zuckerberg now worth 30 million dollars, that is a title we are happy to carry around. 

Do you think some confidence is necessary to overcome obstacles in life? Is there a particular instance where it has proven to be a key to your success?

Much love and till later

Sez xx

10 Ways to Recognise a Twenty Something Employee

Credit: Nadir Balcikli

Credit: Nadir Balcikli

These days we are not an endangered species but proliferating throughout every industry at an alarming rate (man I love to use big words at 7:30 in the morning). The twenty something worker. New, fresh faced, trying to desperately impress but inside totally freaking out. Sound familiar? Twenty somethings are bringing a whole new attitude to workplaces everywhere, and I hope we are embraced because we have so much to offer. However, one thing we are not is subtle. Here are 10 ways to pick a twenty something employee out from a mile away…

1. We know more about the Kardashians then is technically legal. And we unfortunately forgot that before we blurted out every fact we know at the latest corporate dinner. And inadvertently pushed our level of maturity back 5 years…. 

2. We would be happy to stay back a couple of hours tonight or set up for the event on a Saturday; we would love the experience and to improve on our skills. Oh wait, you’re not paying me or give me the time off another day? Oh right actually I think I have to make dinner for my cat tonight…. she gives Grumpy Cat a run for his money when she is kept waiting….

3. We have low tolerance for long meetings that are not beneficial to our tasks. Twenty somethings get in, get the information they need and get out. Want to know how long our attention spans are for something we are not interested in? Think how long it takes to make 2 minutes noodles. Only slightly longer than that.

4. We are the first to embrace new technologies and will have the new office software down pat before you have even found the on switch. But don’t worry we are also more than happy to lend a hand to the “oldies” (and subsequently get fired for referring to you as said “oldies”).

5. We will be the ones filling the office fridge with quinoa and chia seed salad and downing disgusting green smoothie concoctions for our morning pick me up. Or we’ll be the one who cant afford anything except for stale donuts and litres of instant coffee. Really it’s a 50:50 chance.  

6. We are the first to suggest Friday night drinks. Or Tuesday night drinks. Or Thursday lunch time I-have-a-huge-report-to-write-this-afternoon drinks. We claim we are just doing our part to support the city’s publicans.

7. We have utmost respect for any colleague who is older than us. So virtually everyone. But remember with twenty somethings you only get a couple of chances to make a good first impression. We were taught if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all and we’ve decided we will never like you and hence the awkward silence.

8. We are the sharing generation. We will tell you about how we had a “fully mad” weekend with the girls, spent 12 hours watching Sex and The City reruns on our day off, or didn’t have time to do washing this week. We suggest you just nod and smile. It’s the safe response. 

9. We will try hard to fit in with “grownup” conversation and learn who Gaddafi was, the year the Cold War ended and how the stock market is looking. But then we’ll admit we don’t know how to boil rice, and thought Meatloaf was an American dinnertime staple.

10. We are attacking our careers with a ferocity not seen in any generation. We have been blessed with the opportunity for great education, supportive families and an overdose of the “Can Do Attitude” they injected into our milk. We are passionate about accounting, dentistry or rubbish collection and are ready to scale up the ladder as quickly as we can. We are hard workers and not afraid to ask questions to fill in our knowledge gaps so we can then takeover your position. We are a little stubborn and don’t respond the best to old age mentality (but WHY do we have to do it that way? My idea would be much faster….) We are entrepreneurial, creative and when we get a bee in our bonnet you will hear about it.

But that’s why you employed us in the first place. 

Much love and till later

Sez xx

When You Need To Suck It Up At Work – And Other Working Girl Sagas

Credit: Alejandro Escamilla

Credit: Alejandro Escamilla

As a twenty something I have done my fair share of complaining in my lifetime. “Aw I don’t want to clean my room”, “Aw it’s only 3am are you seriously closing already?” but among all of the whining and whinging, I am often reminded of a little something my parents taught me…
Sometimes you just gotta suck it up.
This valuable lesson can be learned in all aspects of life but is best demonstrated in the workplace. At work you have a boss (unless you are your own boss and this really doesn’t apply to you so take your entrepreneurial amazingness elsewhere cause you’re making the rest of us jealous) and they are God. If they are Queen Victoria you are all of the humble English peasants desperate for some cake (wrong queen?). They speak, you listen.
Once you get your first job out of university (and probably your second or third job as well), life turns a blind eye to all the wheedling and procrastinating you’ve become so good at and puts you Highway One to “Yes Town”. Yes Town is full of obligations, responsibilities and nodding heads and its population is you. It has a dodgy reputation among some of its neighbouring suburbs (including Funsville and Drunk City) but will prove to be a lot more useful.
There are things I get asked to do everyday at work that I don’t want to do. Cold calling, awkward conflict resolution, epic workloads and tasks completely out of my job description. Do I whine like a tiny puppy or bow before Queen Victoria and suck it up? I think you know. In fact this has happened so many times that I developed a personal mantra I use for moments when I feel like a hissy fit would be a more appropriate reaction. It’s just a few words:
“Suck it up Sez, you can do it”
Yep it’s corny and yep it belongs in an Instagram motivational picture but it WORKS. Although it may seem like a nightmare at the time, sucking it up can have an amazing outcome when you least expect it. I’ve certainly had awkward work conversations that I’ve stayed up all night dreading which have then turned out to be: totally ok. And I’ve gone to meetings where I was expecting a blasting to be told I’m doing a fully sick job and to keep rocking it. Ok so it wasn’t in those words but you get the point.
The fear you have of learning a new skill, interacting with different colleagues or taking on responsibility for something you thought was out of your league can actually be a blessing. Sure it’s scary and it can kinda make you wanna pee your pants but it is worth it. I’m now a total pro at cold calling and am the first person to say no to an unrealistic workload.
I hope to take my mantra with me throughout career to guide me into taking on my fear in the workplace head on. So if you ever work with me in future positions and see me talking to myself before going into an important meeting, don’t call the shrink just yet – maybe pop over and we can chant together.
What work situations have you found yourself in where you sucked it up and it worked out for the better? Do you have annoyingly cheerleader like mantra or is that just me?
Much love and till later Sez xx

10 Life Lessons Your University Education Taught You That You Don’t Realise

Credit: Craig Garner

Credit: Craig Garner

Your university years are a unique experience filled with knowledge, life long friends and way too many vodka redbulls. But now you’re out in the workforce and arrived at the realisation that 99% of what you learnt was irrelevant to real life industry, you’re feeling a little disappointed in the huge amount of cash you spent that should have been used to buy a boat. Or a lot of Louboutins.

Never fear however, your time and hard earned money did not all go to waste – here are 10 life lessons which made it all worth the while.

1. You realise a Vice Chancellor is now a boss of a university and not the subordinate of some member of the Royal family. Although you’re still not sure why the Vice Chancellor gets to call all the shots – where is the Chancellor?

2. You carefully mastered the skill of appearing awake and taking notes in lectures while either a) napping or b) stalking your ex bestie on FB, or c) trying to list the justifying reasons in your head as to why you got out of bed for this 9am lecture

3. The only more disastrous outcome than getting a Friday 4pm tutorial is impending death by guillotine and you therefore found some deep down organisational skills when enrolment came around to avoid such a catastrophe

4. You have developed an uncanny ability to measure the quality, price and approximate queue length of all the coffee shops within a 2km radius of the university campus

5. You can now explain the intricate rules and skillset required to play ultimate frisbee and futsal even though you previously thought they were close relatives of Quidditch. Oh but wait you now know that is a real game as well so the trifecta is complete.

6. You can tell to the glass, the exact amount of alcohol that can be consumed the night before an important presentation to ensure your stress is masked but you can still stand up straight and remember your name

7. You have learned the two most dreaded words in the English language: group assignment

8. You have become a gambling man and know that the ratio is 50:50 as to whether you will have studied the right stuff for your exam and you will not know the outcome of these odds until you, with a dread filled heart, turn over that exam paper

9.You realise you have to work five extra years to set your children up with a great life and a beautiful house with a picket fence because you spent all of your money on textbooks

10. You will realise, only once it’s over, that your university years were probably the best of your life and now you are one of those old boring people that goes to work everyday. Ugh surely it is only down from here!

What did you learn from your university experience? Are there some things you wish you could unlearn? Comment below lovelies!

Much love and till later
Sez xx

Why 20 Somethings Are The New “Blondes” and How to Fight the Stereotype

Credit: Daniel Robert Dinu

Credit: Daniel Robert Dinu

It’s joke time! How you do keep a 20 something busy for 2 days? Give them a piece of paper that has “please turn over” written on both sides. How did the 20 something die at the baseball game? They drowned during the Mexican wave!

Not giggling yet? Didn’t think so. 20 somethings have become the butt of other peoples jokes. I mean come on, they are now lumping us in the with blondes; we must take action!

There have been times when my age has given me grief and I’m pretty fed up. I’ve lost count of the number of workplaces where I’ve been the youngest and had to face questions like “are you sure you’re not in High School?” and “are you even old enough to drink coffee?”

I’m lucky now to be in a work environment filled with other driven 20 somethings and with safety in numbers we are finally receiving the respect and consideration we deserve.

But if you’re stuck in your cubicle being teased about your lack of knowledge of world politics (seriously though, just watch the news) or being asked to do the lunch run yet again because you are the “most sprightly”, try these three tips to stop the stranglehold of age discrimination and stand alongside your colleagues as an equal.

 

1. Gain inspiration from those who have already paved the way for us

Girl power is not a new phenomenon but is personified in these kick ass girls, who refuse to let their age dictate their dreams. There’s Adele, with the hilarious cockney accent but angelic voice, who refuses to be a size 0 and when interviewed sounds like an understudy from Oliver. Next we have Jessica Rudd who was thrust into the political spotlight in her early twenties thanks to her father dearest Kevin 07. Now she is a successful writer and journalist and a great thinker in her own right. Lastly, there is J Lawrence, who got knocked back from Twilight by Kirsten Stewart (whose face would actually crack if she smiled) and fell over in front of half of the world at the Oscars and just laughed it off. 

 

2. Show up and do the work

Though it hurts me to say, there are those out there in the job world waiting for us to fail. They think our inexperience deems us unworthy of achievements before we’ve earned them and we should wait in line like everyone else. 20 somethings are a lot of things, but patient is not one of them. In order to stand up and be noticed you have to put your work where your mouth is. That is don’t give them a reason to doubt you. Show up early, be attentive, go above and beyond and show them without a shadow of a doubt that you belong there. Own it girl. Not in your personality to be aggressive? Channel Lady Gaga (minus the meat dress), this always works for me! 

 

3. Share the quarterlife love

So your list of skills might be shorter than some of your colleagues, and you haven’t been to as many conferences or bought in as many clients. But you have hidden skills you don’t even realise that can be leveraged to get you in with the water cooler crowd quicker than you can list what Paris Hilton is famous for (hint: nothing). Have a colleague struggling with their “i” device? Lend them a hand. Volunteer to start up your company’s social media presence, and give a couple of Facebook 101 lessons. If that fails, putting yourself out there to offer advice can definitely pay off. No your 23 year old daughter would prefer the Arctic Monkey’s album over Mariah Carey’s Greatest Hits and Finders Keepers is a fashion label and not a new board game.

 

So what’s the takeaway message? Embrace your age, you’ll never be this young again but you shouldn’t have to remain at the bottom of the food chain until those at the top wither away and die (graphic but true). Use this advice to crack through the assumptions that 20 somethings are immature and too daft to be put in charge of anything “important” and show up everyday with an attitude of self love. Remember, if you don’t believe in your talent it will be twice as hard to convince someone else. Slip on those stilettos and strut it out girls. I know without them, the vertically challenged me would still be mistaken for a Year 10. 

Much love and till later

Sez xx

 

10 (Unconventional) Reasons Why Twenty Somethings Are Travel Obsessed

Credit: Louis Pellissier

Credit: Louis Pellissier

These days twenty somethings are more cultured than a tub of yoghurt and are constantly on the lookout for where their next hit will come from. We all know travel is important to open our minds to new ways of life, and to appreciate history and those that came before us, yadda, yadda, yadda. But what we haven’t been sharing are the slightly unconventional reasons why we are filling our boss’s inboxes with leave requests and spending a week’s pay on new luggage. Intrigued? Read on to find out more….

1. In the early 2000’s, when family fights over the TV would alternate from 60 Minutes (Dad) to Big Brother (Me) a common ground was needed. Enter: the humble travel show, destined to fill every 20 something with the travel bug (and also make them believe they would of course be able to afford some of the ridiculously expensive trips showcased). Every Thursday night I sat down with my girl Katrina Rountree (from Getaway fame) and soaked it all in. Note to parents: Maybe if you had just let us watch Big Brother we would stay in the country more. But then our brains would be the consistency of mouldy vegetables so probably good call.

2. Many decades ago, there was the little black book, and it was prestigious honour to see how many “lovely ladies” would feature in there. These days we have the passport, a similarly coloured and shaped object used to collect conquests and brag to our friends. (And don’t even get me started on countries that don’t stamp anymore!) 

3. I think we all have a force, deep down in our souls that urges us to keep Lonely Planet afloat. My collection probably accounts for a quarter of their market profits. 

4. We don’t settle for second best. Yes I love my Friday night drink sessions with the girls BUT would I love it better if I was sipping Moet with the same group of girls under the Eiffel Tower? Is Zac Efron the sex god of our generation? That would be a yes.

5. We are constantly trying to test the physics of the world around us. How small is the world we live in? The fact that I met a fellow exchange student from England on a back street in Wellington, 3 years later would suggest that theorem certainly has some validity. The fact we can also detect  traveller hailing from our homeland up to 2km away just by hearing the soft lilting accent (or in the case of Scots, the brash loud one), is a feat science is still yet to explain.

6. We are the generation who are used to being entertained. It’s sad and some would say it devalues us but it’s true. We are like a bored 5 year old three days after Christmas who has gone through everyone of our expensive gizmos and wants something new. And travel happily goes out to the department store and grabs something for us. Our eyes twinkle as we see the new toy….”ooohhh Uruguay!”

7. As 20 somethings are getting married and having children later in life we need something else to decorate our nests with. Instead of wedding albums and tiny pattering feet, we have Venetian Murano glass and oversized voodoo masks from Ghana. It’s like The Block meets the Amazing Race. Quick somebody call the networks now!

8. We know it is sexy to learn a new language so we claim we know as many as the countries we have been too. Unfortunately you need to know more than just yes, no and where is the toilet to be able to list it on your resume, but we 20 somethings are nothing if not resourceful. 

9. If we didn’t travel Mark Zuckerberg would lose his fortune and end up sleeping under a sack in some alley somewhere. Can you imagine a Facebook without travel photos to be jealous of? Such a scenario is not worth picturing!

10. The last reason is less unconventional but not any less true. It is in our blood. From the thrill of the crowds at the airport, through to climbing vast mountain ranges, diving in deep waters or simply shopping up a storm in air conditioned comfort, we get a rush you can’t find from anything else. For me it is a lifeblood, a cord that connects to the world outside of me that I willingly give myself to and use it as a guide rope around the globe. And that is pretty cool.

Which reason do you associate with the most? Do you have your own personal reason? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Much love and till later

Sez xx