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When you were in high school and college, you knew the rules you needed to play by to win – get good grades, be good at everything to keep your grade point average up, conform and say yes to as much as possible. If you did these things, you were a star, you got the scholarship, everyone looked up to you.

Lindsay Boccardo, generational consultant and millennial career coach, says that’s literally the exact opposite of building your career. Here’s more from her:

When it’s time to build your career, you want to make up your own rules, live by your strengths, say NO fast and often when something isn’t in your skillset, and focus your energy on getting really good at one or two things. You don’t need to be the valedictorian and good at everything to make a lot of money.

Most of us just go searching for job postings. The problem is that you are then reading postings and seeing if you happen to fit versus knowing who you are and what you’re good at and networking to find your dream job. Also, 80% of roles are NEVER posted at all!

There are four steps you must take to design the career you want.

  1. Gather information on yourself FIRST. Make sure you can articulate:
    • Skills
    • Strengths
    • Values
    • Personality
    • Desires (this can be the hardest one!)

2. Investigate what’s out there based on the location you want to be in. You’ll also want to take into account two factors that are not talked about enough:

3. Network. Tell people everything you discovered in the first two steps. The more clarity you have and the more concrete you can be, the better results you’ll get when networking. You’ve got plenty of people you can connect with: 

4. This is the reward for doing it in this order. CHOICE. You get to choose:

We spend more than half of our waking hours at work. Our careers deeply impact our quality of life. It’s worth taking the time to design it the way that you want it!

For more career advice, visit Boccardo’s website.

In our series Building Career Confidence, today Lindsay Boccardo, generational consultant and millennial career coach talks about growing in your current role.

What happens if you love your organization, you want to stay, but you’re feeling a little stale? How do you grow when a promotion isn’t an option?

Most of us want someone to believe in us, pay us as we grow and give us grace and patience in the meanwhile. Unfortunately, most of us have to GROW first, in our own time, using our own energy and having our own drive. Here are three ways you can grow on your own this fall.

Interview your heroes:

Find people who are doing your dream job (they don’t have to be in your organization) and interview them. Ask them what training they have, what books they are reading, what continuing education they have participated in. Follow in their footsteps in your own unique way.

Look for problems that you’d be interested in solving:

There are likely ways that you can add value and learn a new skill (and in the future, a raise) by showing what else you can bring to the table. If you can see a better way of doing something, if you have a new strategy that you think is more effective, – this is your chance to shine without the pressure of it being on your job description.

Take a course on creativity, emotional intelligence or persuasion:

LinkedIn Learning did research from their own users and found that these are some of the most highly rated soft skills that are in demand in 2020. 

For more from Lindsay, visit her website.

In our Building Career Confidence series, today Lindsay Boccardo, generational consultant and millennial career coach is talking about three communication skills to focus on when working from home. Here’s more from her:

Without that in-person touch, it truly is harder to build trust. There are specific communication skills that make a big difference in this season:

1. Listening. Take a extra few breaths (and minutes) to listen to our teammates and try to understand where they are coming from. Those few extra minutes show that you are supportive and you care. At the same time, meetings are not the time to dump our emotions all over our colleagues.

2. Self-Advocating. This is where true authenticity lies. Not in dumping all of our unprocessed stress, and not the other extreme of being closed off and cold towards our team. This is a chance to let people know what you need. We used to walk into the room and get a feel for how people were doing. We read body language and interpreted tone a lot more in person. So, don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. It’s also very easy to be out of touch with how much you have on your plate, and how much your colleagues have on theirs. You may find yourself reminding your team when your plate is full.

3. Keep meetings short. We all know what it’s like to wander aimlessly on a zoom call. If you don’t know what’s on the agenda and what’s being asked of you during a meeting, it probably shouldn’t be happening. We need agendas and clear expectations right now to keep our attention.

For more from Boccardo, visit her website and Instagram.

Today begins a new Indy Style segment series with Lindsay Boccardo, generational consultant and millennial career coach. It’s called, “Building Career Confidence,” and today Boccardo shares how to talk to your boss. Here’s more from her:

I find a lot of us are unsure of how to use time with our boss effectively. There are a few things that can help you stand out, even if you have something unpleasant you need to talk about.

1. Process your emotions with a safe third party.

2. If you’re upset about how a project was handled, what a co-worker said, or how an email went out, it’s natural to feel fired up and defensive or irritated and want to vent. It’s not helpful to include them in on that process and it doesn’t leave a great impression. Venting is not the same thing as emotionally connecting and being authentic. Venting is a process we sometimes go through when we aren’t ready or willing to find a solution just yet. Your boss will pick up on this, trust me.

3. If you are bringing a concern, make sure to share how that concern effects the bottom line of the business or slows down a process. Make it simple for them to understand why this needs attention.

4. Ask your boss if they’ve ever had to deal with this before and what they’ve done in the past to fix it. This includes them in the process and show them that you respect their experience.

5. Bring a solution to the table to show you’ve already thought about how to handle it.

6. Always always always write up a quick agenda and send it ahead of time. This helps your leader prepare for what you want to cover and will keep you on track to make the most of your time with them.

For more from Boccardo, visit her website.

Boundaries are important to set any time, but with the uncertainty of school, work and relationships during a pandemic, they’re even more necessary. Lindsay Boccardo, generational consultant and millennial career coach has some tips to set boundaries at work without making it feel awkward. Here’s more from her:

For some of us, our lives are just starting to get back to semi-normal. School is starting. Working is starting. Friend situations are changing for you and the kids. We are all in a giant reset. So, what do you want to do differently?

Boundaries can feel awkward, especially if we are afraid that we are going to disappoint people.

Boundaries are first, you telling yourself what you’re okay with and what you’re not – and then communicating that to other people.

You know when it’s time to set a boundary. You’re frustrated, you feel used, you might feel your body get tense or maybe there’s that one thing that you keep wanting to vent about. Those are strong signs that you need to communicate a boundary somewhere.

Three Tips to Setting a Boundary

Here’s how to set a boundary when feeling overwhelmed:

1. Acknowledge the person’s intention – we are all trying here.

Ex: “I know you’re trying to figure out how to fix this…”

2. Share your “friendly fence line” that was there before this person made the request. Just enough context to be helpful, not apologetic. 

Ex: “We typically reserve Sundays as family days, so I wasn’t planning on being available for a call.”

3. Share what you’re willing to do (it may not be what they want you to do exactly). This is an opportunity to be helpful without feeling irritated. 

Ex: “I can jump on the phone with you first thing Monday morning so we can get this sorted out.”

I have to remind myself all the time, we are not in a normal circumstance. Everyone is doing their best with work commitments, kids going back to school and lots of difficult circumstances. We aren’t able to really consider each other because we don’t see each other. You might find yourself setting more boundaries than normal. You might find yourself having to be more direct and communicate things that felt obvious to you before.

For more from Boccardo, visit her website.

Sometimes we think our next career step has to be drastic. We tend to think that one decision could change our whole life. Lindsay Boccardo, generational consultant and millennial career coach explains how to incrementally design your career as you go. 

1. Stoplight exercise:

We need to get clear about what we are unhappy about (specifically) so we can fix the right thing. 

Make a stop light list of everything you are doing right now:

Green: What you love doing that is part of your job description and you are good at it.

Yellow: What you are able to do, it’s a little outside your job description, and you’re not great at it, it drains you.

Red: It’s not part of your job description, it’s exhausting to do and you aren’t good at it naturally.

Your Manager likely doesn’t know how unhappy you are. They can’t read your mind and they don’t know how to make it better for you. Basically, they aren’t your fairy god mother. Once you get clear on what’s not working for you, a good manager will work with you to get clear on your responsibilities.

2. Shift your attitude

It’s a lot easier to look at our boss and our coworkers and think that THEY are the problem. But we are all creating the culture we have to live in. If you want to change career paths you’re going to want your boss on your side and you’ll want to be seen as a helpful contributor. Just shifting your attitude and relationships at work can make a huge difference with your satisfaction. 

  1. Tell your coworker something they are doing well
  2. Show gratitude
  3. Enter your meetings prepared with an agenda

3. Follow Your Curiosity

Instead of looking at job openings, look at career paths. What do you enjoy learning about? Who can you shadow that is doing something you find intriguing? It’s much harder to genuinely explore when you are out of work and in survivor mode. The best time to be curious is when you are still gainfully employed. One thing that works well is googling “A Day In The Life of a ____”. This will give you a concrete example of what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes. I had a client who wanted to be an air traffic controller because they make good money, well, once he watched “A Day In The Life of an Air Traffic Controller”, he was no longer interested.

Overall, the best way we can prepare for the future is to keep growing. At any point, you should be able to articulate a few areas you are actively growing in. It’s easier to direct your career path incrementally if you are always growing, learning and adapting. 

For more from Lindsay, visit her website.

As a career strategist, I know one reason people aren’t happy is that they aren’t growing, says Lindsay Boccardo, generational consultant and millennial career coach. Sometimes we need to be challenged professionally. Here are a few ways that you can grow professionally while also enjoying your summer:

1. Develop a deeper sense of self-awareness.

Daniel Goleman (the father of Emotional Intelligence) would say that self-awareness is foundational to our growth professionally.  Self-awareness is understanding your thoughts and feelings and being able to see how they impact your behavior.

How to do this: Start journaling your thoughts and feelings (especially when you’re mad about something at work) to understand how you process information and how your behavior impacts other people. You might be surprised about what upsets you and how you handle yourself when you take a step back.

2. Build a LIFE TEAM.

We influence each other tremendously. Our attitudes and our behaviors are contagious. Jim Rohn is known for saying “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”

How to do this: If you know HOW you want to grow professionally, find people who are a few steps ahead of you on the journey and follow them around.  So often we make goals and then we try to read a book about it and make it happen. It’s much more efficient to follow an actual human as they are doing it. You want to become a pastry chef? Sure, you can read a cookbook, but you’ll learn a lot more in real time by standing next to one.

3. Flex Your Creative Muscles.

Create content based on your unique combination.No one has your story. You’ve had experiences, passions, things that make you, YOU. And there are people who could benefit from you. Maybe you’re 25, you work remote, and you love to make vegan meals that don’t take a lot of time. Other people in TikTok want to learn from you. Your knowledge in that area could help a ton of other people.

How to do this: Pick a social platform that you love and try some things out! Have fun with it. Learn the “rules” of that platform and see what you can come up with. Consider how you could practice your communication, ignite your creativity, and connect with fresh faces.

Ultimately, your summer is YOURS. If you want to keep growing, you can pick just one of these ideas and run with it. See what you come up with, reach out, and tell me how it goes! 

For more from Boccardo, visit her website.

A lot of us are wondering if a side hustle is right for us. Here are five questions Lindsay Boccardo, generational consultant and millennial career coach says you should ask yourself to get clarity before you take that leap:

Am I doing this to escape my current job?

It’s easy to create a fantasy when you see other people with side hustles that claim they are making six figures. If you find something you’re truly passionate about that you want to move towards, great. But if it’s a “get rich quick escape my boring life” plan, it likely won’t work out in your favor.

If you do want to make a career transition, a side hustle is a great way to learn skills that will benefit you down the road.

Do I need money right now?

If you need money right now, you might want to take a look at your current skillsets and focus on which ones pay the most per hour. For me, when I was building my speaking and consulting business, I taught drum lessons on the side because it’s the best money per hour. What’s your skill? The internet makes it possible to monetize a lot of different skills through apps like Thumbtack. 

Do I find clients and customers or do they come to me?

There are two types of side hustles. There are some that reward you for finding new customers, and some that connect you with an existing customer to deliver a service. Uber or Instacart for example, send you customers. Young Living oils, and Beach Body reward you for finding people. You probably already know in your gut which of those options is a better fit. Basically, if you don’t like sales, make sure that’s not a requirement of your side hustle.

How important is flexibility in time and location to you?

For example, you can do transcribing on the side from anywhere, but if you want to start selling cookies at the farmer’s market, you’ll need a plan that you stick to if you want to make it worth your time. 

Do I have the capacity?

Side hustles take a varying amount of energy to start up, so check in with your calendar and your energy to see if it’s realistic for you. 

Closing: As a career strategist to Millennials and Gen Z, it’s very common to see young employees flowing in and out of side hustles as a way to explore career options, make some cash and make the most of their free time. Remember, you don’t have to marry your side hustle and you aren’t a failure if you figure out that it didn’t work for you. Don’t be afraid to explore, with these questions in mind.

For more from Lindsay, visit her website

Millions of college juniors and seniors are at a loss on how to move forward right now. The good news is that everyone is dealing with this, so this is your chance to stand out.

What do you do when you need to show professional experiences on your resume, but you just lost your internship? Or you worked your tail off for your first job placement and you were just notified that there’s a hiring freeze? Here are some action steps from Lindsay Boccardo, Generational Consultant and Millennial Career Coach you can take today to feel good about your future:

I believe a career is a commitment to keep learning and growing in a direction that interests you. A commitment to add value to other people’s lives in a specific way. Whether you want to be a coder or a teacher or you want to work at a PR firm. This has not changed. How we go about it has changed and to the degree that you can flex and show resiliency and resourcefulness, you’ll set yourself up for success.  

For more from Lindsay, visit