Young Professionals advice

Keeping up on Good Habits

By: Knoel Kambak In sitting down to write this blog post, I was met with writer’s block and the unfamiliar feeling of not having my thoughts easily flow onto the computer screen. I realized I am really out of practice when it comes to writing anything for purposes outside my profession. I know this process should be much easier. What happened?

Way back when I was a college student and even early on in my career, I had access to multiple outlets for composing my thoughts on matters outside the business world. Now after years of typing emails to clients and colleagues and drafting numerous professional memos, letters, process documents and so forth, my routine has pushed me away from time I devoted to more creative pursuits. Now’s as good as a time as ever to reverse that trend. This post is a first step in me getting back in the (good) habit of avoiding routines, the first of three good habits I’ll discuss that can help improve your day-to-day experiences:

  1. Avoid routines. Think about your typical work week. How much of one day’s activities are the same as the day before? Or are your weeks fairly interchangeable when you look at how you spend your time (work, sleep, eat, etc.). The downside of routines is that your mind tends to dull and you may miss a creative spark or new way to approach a problem as a result.

To snap out of the routine, find something you can change in your daily routine, whether it’s the route you drive into work, the time of day you break for lunch or what establishment you select for happy hour (e.g. the Elk’s Lodge on September 3rd). It does not have to be a major change in your routine, just something that keeps your mind active and thinking about things in a new way.

  1. Have goals and a plan. This seems pretty straight-forward, but you would be surprised how many people do not keep this practice up. You should draft a list of short-term goals (for the next year or two) and long-term goals (5 years and beyond) related to your job and life outside of work. The short-term goals should be consistent with and support the long-term goals. Your goals can be as aggressive as you want to make them, mainly avoid making them too easy.

With your goals now in place, you can plan how you will achieve them. You don’t necessarily have to write this part down, so long as you know what you need to do to succeed. Most importantly, make sure you review and update your goal lists to see what you have accomplished, and what may need revising.

  1. Stay positive. Your rate of success in life will not be 100% (but if it is, send me an email because I have lots of questions for you-) so you will need to be able to deal with something not going your way. The best approach here is to maintain a positive attitude. People tend not to enjoy spending time around someone that has a negative attitude and focusing solely on what went wrong excludes what went right, or at least what was headed in the right direction.

Meet a Member: Brad Grzesiak

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brad

Name: Brad Grzesiak

Years in Magnet: Gosh, I dunno. I joined when Rebecca was still Executive Director. So that's like 8 years or so?

Position: Board Member

 

What prompted you to join Magnet? I originally joined Magnet a couple years out of college: I went to UW–Madison and, after graduation, I saw way too many of my friends find jobs or grad school in faraway places. After a couple years of hanging out with mostly friends from work, I wanted to expand my social circle outside of only engineers. I found Magnet and joined after going to just one happy hour. Almost immediately after joining, I found myself volunteering on the Community Involvement Committee, and I've been hooked ever since.

What do you as a career? What is your favorite part about it? I'm CEO of a software development consultancy. I absolutely love empowering my employees learn and create new things. We even set aside 8 hours each week to focus on professional development. I'm thrilled we are able to stick to our vision of sharing joy and success in our craft.

What do you do when you’re not working or hanging out with other Magnet members? I've been playing ultimate frisbee for about 8 years now, and I absolutely love it! While I typically claim "it's stress-relieving exercise," the truth is that I just really enjoy playing an active sport full of such friendly people. If you haven't played, there are typically men's, women's, and coed leagues available in the spring, summer, and fall.

Tell us something about yourself that most people probably don’t know. In college, I experienced about 12 minutes (in 25 second chunks) of zero gravity aboard NASA's Vomit Comet... er, "Weightless Wonder." I was on a team project that developed a robot designed to navigate the space station. And yes, I would totally do it again.

What achievement are you most proud of? As co-founder of a small company, I'm most proud of the sponsorship we've been able to give to programs aimed at the underprivileged, like Rails Girls Summer of Code and YWeb Career Academy. I'm even more excited about the bigger impacts we can make in the future.

Money aside, what is your dream job?  Prior to my current career, I thought I had already found my dream job. When combined with what I do now, that makes 2 dream jobs already, so I'm not one to assume that there's One True Job out there for me. That said, I *have* legitimately applied to be an astronaut before.