Making it Count

This is the first reflection entry written by current student, Manuj Goyal. Manuj will be sharing his journey with us as he travel abroad in India as part of his own self-directed Global Co-op focusing on the development work for his company, Turing Robotics.

Nike challenges us all to “Make it Count!” and as I sit here 30,000 feet off the ground, I wonder how I have come here. How am I going to make this count?

Sitting wrapped in a thick brown checkered blanket in the early hours of the day, I explain to a friend a simple feeling which ends up turning my world on its head. A feeling of empowerment, a feeling of longing, a feeling of love, a whirlwind of melancholy and utter bliss. That morning I realized my purpose, my drive, my power all came from a perplexingly simple word, love. A love for you, a love for me, a love for all my brothers and sisters, and for this beautiful life and world we have been given.

Acting on this feeling, surrendering to the fate the universe had decided for me, I bought a plane ticket to go half way around the world. I explained my journey to others, trying to figure it out myself. Am I backpacking, am I doing service, am I researching, is this really a co-op? How am I making it count? How am I taking this six month opportunity and creating an experience of a lifetime and getting invaluable insight and learning while sharing my love and serving my people?

black-and-white-flight-man-personAs I travel to India to learn about my country, serve the people of the world which has sculpted my life so profoundly, and to build a nonprofit organization to reduce child labor in the most rural areas of the globe, follow my journey as I answer these questions. Join me in giving back, in celebrating diversity, in expanding our potential and our world. Join me in a journey of discovery, service, and learning. Let’s make it count.

Waiting Room Do’s and Don’t’s

So imagine this: you are at a job interview, about 5-10 minutes early and are now in the interview waiting room, waiting for your interviewer to come down to meet you. This time waiting can actually affect your interview, so what you do (and don’t do) might have an impact on how your professionalism appears to the interviewer.

interviewing, waiting room, interview waiting room

Do: Look over your resume. I remember being told in my co-op class to bring multiple copies of my resume in a fancy portfolio to interviews to provide interviewers with. Since your resume is most likely the only piece of paper they’ll have of yours, you better know what your own resume says! Hopefully you’ve reviewed it before, but a quick read over in the waiting area shows whoever might be watching you that you are committed to this interview.

Do: Have good posture. This carries over into the interview as well, but sitting up straight is important. The way you are sitting may be the first time your interviewer sees you and this also may impact how your reflection of professionalism. It’s not too long of a time frame, so straighten that back a bit!

Don’t: Play on your phone. I feel as if this varies. I’m the kind of person who says its a no, but we’re all entitled to our own opinion. Being on your phone can show that you are preoccupied with something else, such as emails, text messages, your social media, or myabe the latest level of Candy Crush. Tuck that phone away (on silent!) in your bag or pocket when you walk into the waiting area. You’ll look ten times more professional and can use the time to focus on the interview, not on other aspects of your life. (I promise they’ll still be there when you’re finished with interviewing.)

Photo courtesy of ASDA. 

Finding Time for Mindfulness in the Workplace

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Candidly speaking, people often associate mindfulness with places like monasteries and hippie communes, and it’s often an idea that’s tossed aside as being “too out there” when suggested that people adopt it into their everyday lives. Yet mindfulness, proven to reduce stress, is finding a home in the workplace. Admittedly, I was one of the people who did not pay any attention to the practice of mindfulness, yet I began to take notice when mindfulness workshops were offered in my office.

Let’s face it. Regardless of what industry we work in, we all face stress every single day. Looming deadlines, annoying coworkers, and heavy workloads are a part of our daily lives. However, I found that setting just 10 minutes aside each day to practice mindfulness helped take the stress away from my daily work routine. Looking to do the same? Here are some easy tips that are tried and true by yours truly:

Isolate your tasks. Next time you’re sitting at your desk simultaneously scrolling through emails on your computer, talking to coworkers, and sipping your morning coffee, take a moment to focus in on just one simple task. By isolating your tasks, you’ll remove the added stressors that like to creep in where they are not welcome. We often feel guilty for doing this because of our workloads and the pressure to constantly be accessible to our colleagues and bosses, but making sure you’re truly focused on one task will lead to even better productivity and quality of work.

Sixteen seconds of bliss. This is my personal favorite, and one that I use all the time – whether I’m at work, commuting, or just stressing about what show to watch next on Netflix. Here’s how to do it: four second inhale, followed by holding the breath for four seconds, four second exhale, and hold the exhale for four seconds. It’s an easy way to focus on yourself and not the stresses in your life, and center yourself again.

Look to the sky. I know this one may sound very out there, but bear with me, okay? Next time you’re stressed, imagine your mind as a crystal clear blue sky. Every stressor in your life is a cloud in that sky, but you have the power to control how fast that cloud moves out of sight. Aim to have a clear sky as much as possible by realizing that you have the power to control and manage your stress.

While I am certainly no expert in the practice of mindfulness in the workplace, I am a fellow stressed-out worker searching for some solace. These three tips are easy ways to help seamlessly introduce mindfulness into your work life and will hopefully help you relieve stress and perform to your best ability.

Jessica Mertens is a senior studying Communication Studies, Business Administration, and International Affairs. With experience in PR, internal communications, and CSR from Metis Communications and Staples, Jessica is now in an eternal state of wanderlust at Travel + Leisure. Offline, you can catch Jessica exploring NYC, binge-watching Scandal, and planning her next world travels. Connect with Jessica on Twitter @jessica_mertens and LinkedIn.