5 Ways to Take Charge in the Development of Your Career


One of the greatest disservices you can do to yourself is to leave your development up to someone else.  I’m talking personal and professional, but especially  professional.  By leaving what you learn and who you get to know up to your company or boss, you are inevitably taking the most important entity, you, out of the equation.  Because nobody knows what you want out of your life like you do.  Nobody knows what makes you tick and gets you going like you do.  And nobody knows your strengths, passions and dreams like you.  So why on earth would you leave something so important up to someone else?  Here are 5 things to do that will undoubtedly give you absolute control over the development of your career.


I won’t spend a lot of time on this because I’m sure you’ve heard it all before.  Many times, it’s not what you know, but who you know.  Speaking from experience, I know that this has stalled my career development and caused me to take certain paths because I didn’t see light in any of the others.  Now that I’m dipping a toe in networking, I’m starting to see things a little clearer.  It’s all about putting yourself out there because you never know who you can help or who can help you.

Attend Industry Conferences and Events

There is so much to be learned from industry conferences and events.  Not only do you get to network, but you get to see what’s really out there when it comes to your field.  There may be aspects of your field that you had no idea existed and may better support your career ambitions.  Not only this, but the takeaways from these conferences are often priceless.  From industry secrets to nuggets of wisdom, attending these types of events is a great way to chart your career path.

Utilize Continuing Education

In most fields, mine included, continuing education units or CEUs are a requirement to stay licensed or working in a certain area.  The good thing about these continuing education courses are that, in some case, the student is able to choose the course(s) that go along with a certain learning objective.  For example, I remember feeling like I’d stumbled onto a goldmine when completing some required CEUs a while ago.  Because in addition to my required “Infection Control” and “Understanding Aging” courses, there were a plethora of courses on other topics that interested me, such as case management, leading social change and understanding grief.  Would I have a degree or grade after completing the course? No, but I would have definitely expanded my knowledge and got some nice tidbits to go under the ‘Professional Development’ area of my resume.


Sometimes, all the education in the world won’t automatically seat you in your perfect career.  You, like many other young professionals, find yourself in “the cycle.”  You can’t get a job because you don’t have the experience, but you can’t get the experience because you don’t have the job.  It’s frustrating.  It’s irritating.  It’s discouraging.  Volunteering, however, brings forth a solution to this conundrum.  By volunteering, you place yourself in a unique position to help others as well as yourself.  You are able to gain valuable experience and skills by learning while doing.  Interested in training and development?  Volunteer as a course instructor for new volunteers, etc.  Since one of my long term goals is to create, develop and evaluate human services programming, I recently began volunteering to do just that with an organization at my alma mater.  The director of the program was able to incorporate my goals in with her program needs.  Volunteering is definitely a win-win.

Take on tasks outside of your job description

Learning is, by far, the best way to develop your career on your own terms.  By taking on tasks outside of your job description, you are aligning yourself to become a resource and are expanding your skill set   You not only know about ABC, but you’re also an expert in XYZ.  You become an asset and nobody wants to lose an asset.

These are just a few ways to develop your career into what you want it to be.  There are so many ways out there and so many ways yet to be discovered.  The main idea, though, is to recognize that your career develop is nobody’s responsibility but yours.  If your career path is veering off to the left and you don’t like it, do something about.  You hold the compass.

But I Thought You Weren’t Supposed to Cry in the Workplace?

I will be the first to admit that I have cried at my job.  I mean, the boohoo ugly cry.  And while it’s not my proudest moment, it is also not something that I am ashamed of or even something that I regret doing.

Gasp…I know what all the career books, blogs and articles say:  “No crying in the workplace…under any circumstances.”  I hear that.  I understand that.  But I also understand that I am a human being with emotions, feelings, thoughts, ideas, etc and this does not change just because I’m in the workplace.

I remember the first (it’s only happened twice) time I cried while at work.  I’d just gotten the news that my daughter was being transported to the Children’s Hospital via ambulance and that her breathing was so labored, she could barely form sentences.  This was our first encounter with our friend, Asthma.  I was scared, angry, unsure of what to do and just overall emotionally overwhelmed.  And so the tears came.  And they wouldn’t stop coming, so that’s how my boss saw me walk into her office.  All wet-faced, blubbering something about an “emergency room” and “can’t breathe.”  She didn’t judge (at least out loud) and simply said, “Go.”

But that’s in the heat of the moment and to many folks, may seem pass-worthy.  A sick child? A worried parent?  That’s understandable.  But what about other instances of tearfulness?  Just recently, I saw my boss crying because she felt overwhelmed, unappreciated and attacked…in the workplace.  She hadn’t gotten any bad news, per se, but her performance on a particular project was not as well received as she would have hoped.  And so she cried…albeit silently, at her desk.  Is this acceptable?

It is, in my opinion, but it was obvious that some people were uncomfortable with it.  Although silent, their demeanor was very telling.  But why were they uncomfortable?  We accept happiness, excitement, even aggravation and anger, but we tend to draw the line at crying.  It’s just…too much.

But it shouldn’t be.

Tears are natural.  Pain, hurt, frustration, and many other emotions are natural and should be expressed.  We’re not working with robots, people (unless you are working with robots, in which case I would tell you to run if your robot started crying), so we have to be understanding and empathetic.  In most situations, it’s just as uncomfortable, if not more uncomfortable, for the crier as it is for the innocent bystanders.

What are your thoughts on crying in the workplace?  Has it ever happened to you?

What Have You Done for You Lately?


It’s Friday and I must say, I’m feeling good.  It could be because my boss is out of the office until Tuesday and I’m all alone (my heaven), but it also could be because I’ve made myself a priority this week, over most other things.

I, like most other moms, am always on the go, taking care of what has to be handled, putting out fires and overall just keeping the world from ending…because you know that’s what will happen if we stop doing everything, right?  Insert sarcasm here.  This week, however, I unconsciously took a different approach.  I did not set out to put myself first this week, but it happened and I’m so glad it did.

 I’m taking a note from one of my favorite Repro Justice/Feminist Bloggers and self-care aficionado, Nicole Clark, and making a record of my successes with self-care this week!  Here goes:

  1. I joined the YMCA
  2. I danced…Zumba!
  3. I didn’t stress over what’s for dinner, who’s cooking or repeated meals.  As long as we ate, I was good.
  4. I did not stress about work.  It’s well documented that I’m not the biggest fan of my job.  This week, I just didn’t focus on that and focused on just making the money until it was my time to move along.
  5. I accepted that I wanted a certain material thing and created a plan to get it.
  6. I woke up early enough to get Jam to school and get to work on time, all without rushing.
  7. I bought a poster board for the physical vision board I plan to create this weekend.  Oprah would be proud!
  8. I FINALLY scheduled an appointment for the dermatologist.  This has been about three years in the making.
  9. I turned in my graduate application, fee, and required documents.  This girl will be a grad student this year!
  10. I took time off to be a mommy and be present with my daughter.
  11. I made time to read.  I’m over half way done with Gone Girl and it’s finally getting good.

So, looking back, I think that I had a pretty productive week.  And even better, all of these things brought me closer to my goals.  From adopting a healthy lifestyle to being the absolute best parent I can be, I’m now one step closer to reaching those goals.

 So, how have you practiced self-care this week?  Have you noticed a shift in your experiences or outlook?  Try making a list of your successes over this week, month or even year.  I have no doubt that you’ll begin to see the benefits of making yourself a priority.

Problems at Preschool: Mean Kids

mommyworksalotjam“I hate you, Jordyn.”

Those were the words spoken to my daughter on her second day of preschool.  Supposedly, some little boy who sits next to her during one of the activities, repeatedly said this to her.  When her dad told me that when he picked her up, she was crying, I thought of the typical separation anxiety that so many kids experience.  Never in a million years, would I have thought those words would be coming out of my daughter’s mouth.

“Mommy, he said he hates me,” she said through tears.

The initial hurt and anger I felt is indescribable.  Not only did I want to hold and comfort my child, but I wanted answers.  I wanted to know what would possess a four or five year old to say such a thing.  I wanted to know what about my baby had conjured up such nastiness from someone so small.  Was it because she was new and receiving more attention from the teachers in their attempt to get her acclimated to the classroom?  Was it because he’s just an evil little snot?  Or was it something more serious…like because she’s Black (this is a predominantly White school)?  I mean, could this little boy even understand the heaviness of ‘hatred’?  I didn’t know and still don’t, but I did know that I had to get my daughter through her first heartache.

Not really knowing what to do, I held her.  I held her and told her that she had to be strong.  That everyone was not going to like her and that was okay.  As long as she loved herself and knew that her dad and I loved her very much, she didn’t need to worry about anything else.  I know that it was hard for her to understand at 4 because it’s still hard for me at times and I’m 25.  But it’s reality.  And as bad as I would have liked to prolong this reality for as long as possible, it came much sooner than expected and it had to be handled.   While I cannot change that little boy’s behavior or his feelings, for that matter, I can prepare my daughter for these types of people, both young and old.

How was your child’s first experience with mean kids?  How did you handle it?

Good Friday: Cupcakes, The Call and Other Randomness

Ahh…I must say, in my Ice Cube voice, that “today was a good day!”  Everything was imperfectly perfect and nothing went exactly as planned and that’s okay.

First, Toon and I finally got to see “The Call” and it was AWESOMESAUCE and then some.  Some folks were complaining about the ending, but I thought it was pretty original.  I won’t spoil the film for you, but it’s definitely a must-see.  Disclaimer: I am a horror/thriller/suspense movie buff, so this was right up my alley.  If those aren’t your genres, this movie may not be your cup of tea.

mommy works alot the call

After the movie, we got cupcakes!!  Yay for cupcakes, yo!  And I finally got to try Jones Bros. Cupcakes.  I mean, I’ve only been in Omaha for 4 years now and still hadn’t tried these cupcakes…until today.

Jones Bros Cupcakes Outing

jones bros goodies

No, all three cupcakes weren’t mine.  I stuck with the strawberries, while Toon DEVOURED the Snickers cupcake and the little peep got the little peep.  And they were so good!!  Nobody complained or had anything negative to say.  Toon even dropped a few hints that he would like a whole Snickers cake (or Cookies and Cream cake) from Jones Bros for his birthday next month.  Hmm, we’ll see about that.  Anywho, it’s very easy to see why Jones Bros is Cupcake Wars champion.

jones bros cupcake wars

Yep, I’m all up in the glass.

Once we annihilated properly and slowly ate our cupcakes, we decided to have a little family picture time in the park.

Mommy Works A Lot and Jam

mommy works a lot toon and jam

Now, we’re off to dinner at Old Chicago (they are so good) and then back home to cuddle up with some Netflix.  Ahh, today has been such a good great day.  It’s gonna suck going back to work on Monday. Ha!

How was your ‘Good Friday’?  Did you spend time with your family or just use the day off to relax and recoup?

Preschool Blues


Today, I dropped Jam off at her first day of preschool in a very long time.  She’s been at home since her dad has been out of work, but now, since he’s working again, it’s time for Jam to rejoin the scholars of her generation.   And that makes me sad.  Of course I want her to learn and be around other children and I’ve prided myself on not becoming one of those parents.  You know the ones that refuse to allow their children to grow up.  But it is very comforting to know that your child is safely tucked away at home with a caring parent that knows and anticipates their needs.  When that security is taken away, however, it’s very unsettling.  Now, like millions of parents before me, I’m placing my trust in the hands of complete strangers and praying that they treat my child as I would.  I can and will pray, but I know they won’t.  They can’t and it’s not their fault.  Unlike myself and Jam’s dad, they do not have the luxury of focusing on just one child.  They don’t have the luxury of focusing on just my Jam.  They must focus on twelve Jams, Jamals, Susies and Brians.  Twelve little people who are all hungry for attention, guidance and knowledge.  It’s a tough job.  But it’s also a tough job being a parent and letting go of the little person that has been safely tucked away for so long.  I can’t believe I’m feeling this way.  I mean, this is not even “big kids” school yet! :::Sigh:::

How did you deal with your child’s first day of preschool?  

Disney Channel & the Little Black Girl


Can I admit that I’m a slight fan of the Disney Channel?  I mean, just a tad.  My daughter, on the other hand, is nutso for the channel.  And even at four, she has her favorite shows and characters.

  • Good Luck, Charlie
  • Jessie
  • A.N.T. Farm
  • Shake It Up

And her favorite characters…

  • Charlie
  • Zuri
  • China
  • Rocky Blue

Can we say, “Halleijauh?”  Three of the four characters she’s enamored with are little Black girls…just like her.  Positive, smart, confident and beautiful little Black girls…just like her.  As she is growing up in an age where Black women and girls are constantly and unapologetically ridiculed and made to feel less than, it is absolutely wonderful to see such positive portrayals of little Black girls on TV, whose families are intact and who are overall, well-adjusted.

Now, I just want to see more and I know I’m not alone.  If you, like me, enjoy seeing such positivity, let the networks know.  Nickelodeon is almost non-existent in our home and I honestly believe it’s because the channel lacks children that my daughter can relate to.  She cannot see herself in them and therefore, the channel gets no attention from her, while shows like Doc McStuffins and Sid the Science Kid will hold her attention for hours (if we allow it).  Children are smart, observant and will let you know, in their own way, how they’re feeling and what they’re thinking.  My daughter’s thoughts and feelings are loud and clear.  And I’m listening.

 What are your feelings about Disney’s current lineup?  Do you believe that children identify with others who look like them?  What are your thoughts on the subject?

File Under ‘Just Random’: My Favorite Black TV Shows…From the 90s

I hate that cable makes you pay for 1546.2 channels, instead of just letting you pick which channels you want.  If they’d just let me pay for the few channels I watch, my bill would be so much cheaper and I would be a much happier customer.  One day, a cable provider will get hipped to the game and make this happen and they will profit…nicely…because I know I’m not the only one.

Anywho, I know that some of you may be saying, “Well, why don’t you just ‘cut the cable off’ (in my MS native tongue) and watch regular TV?”  And to you all I would say, because I’m addicted to 90’s TV.  Okay, so maybe I’m not addicted per se, but I damn sure don’t want to live without it.  It’s just something about coming home after a long days work, climbing onto my bed and turning the television to TVOne that just makes me light up in the inside.  Here are my favorite 90’s television shows, which keep me forever indebted to Cox.


1.       Living Single: Ugh, I always wanted to have friends like Regine, KhaDijah (don’t needja), Max and Synclaire.  I mean, even the guys, Overton and Kyle, were cool.  Their constant bickering, but ride or die mentality, always made me smile.  Another thing that made me smile, even as a young girl, was that all of these women were successful, career women. Max was a lawyer, Kadijah was founder, editor and publisher of Flavor magazine, Regine was a boutique buyer and my girl, Synclaire, was an Administrative Assistant–albeit not a very good one.  Didn’t matter.  As a child, I aspired to be these women.  I wanted to run shyt, have fun with my friends and live in Brooklyn.  Ha…I’m still working on that.


2.       Martin: Wazzup, wazzup, WAZZUP?!?! Martin was a mess.  His and Pam’s back and forth jabs were priceless.  And we all know, “Tommy ain’t got no job, mann!”  The whole cast was just hilarious and they meshed so well…for the first years.  Too bad stuff happened, folks got sued and the show ended.  Welp, it was good while it lasted.

273472.1020.A (1)

3.       New York Undercover: J.C. Williams and Eddie Torres.  Need I say more? Didn’t think so…  No, but seriously, even as a young one, I enjoyed this show.  It showed minorities in a different light.  J.C. was a semi-single dad, trying to raise his hard head son, G, while Torres had his own drama to deal with i.e. women, family, oh and a drug addicted Dad.  Admittedly, New York Undercover didn’t have the best acting and some of the action scenes were…uh, pitiful, but I do consider it a “hard-hitting” drama representative of the 90s.  Heck, most, if not all of the stories featured on the show are relevant today.


4.       Moesha: Moe to the, E to the…Moesha!  This was my show.  Do you hear me?  I loved, loved, loved Moesha…and Brandy (I mean, she is from Mississippi, ya know.)  Her family was everything I wanted my family to be, right down to the annoying, big mouth brother…even though I have one of those.  Their dysfunction was my normal and I am not afraid to admit that I secretly lived vicariously through Moesha Mitchell.  And that sexy Q??  Hmm, I was young, but not dumb.  I knew, even then, that Q was fine.


5. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: I really miss this show.  It was funny, the cast was great and it had a pretty decent balance of entertainment and realness.  A few episodes will always stick with me-the one when Will is shot trying to protect Carlton, when Will’s dad comes back and then leaves again, crushing poor Will in the process, when Aunt Viv SHOWS OUT on the dance floor, and of course, any episode featuring the Carlton dance.  This was just a real cool show.  And other than the random change from Aunt Viv to Aunt Viv, the show remained consistent throughout the years.

So, there’s my list, even though it could probably go on to 7,8, maybe 10 shows.  Hmm…maybe a part II?  Anywho, what are your favorite shows from the 90s?  Also, if you love all-things-90s like me, be sure to check out my “80s Baby…90s Kid” board on Pinterest.  Smooches!

Am I Really the Mean Mommy?

I’m the Mean Mommy?

My daughter has been calling me “mean” all weekend long and I’m kind of tired of it.  I mean, it’s not like she hasn’t called me mean before, but this weekend, it seemed that it was an ongoing thing and it has kind of taken me aback.  Why is she calling me mean?  Well, according to her, it’s because I tell her what to do and yell at her.  Fair enough.  So while I won’t stop telling her what to do, I could probably do it without the yelling, right?  Apparently, wrong.  I seemingly cannot get my point across without yelling.  Even when I try to be cool, calm and collected, I eventually resort to yelling when the direction is not followed to my satisfaction.  Oh my word, am I “that mom?”  I think I am and I don’t like it.

Now, I have worked with children in the past and know of many of the techniques used to curb behaviors, etc.  The problem is, I’ve not always been 100 percent for those methods and honestly don’t believe that they will work on every child.  I also come from an old school mentality that parents are to lay down the law and children are to blindly follow.  Is that wrong?  Probably so, since I don’t believe in that 100 percent either.  It’s just so frustrating not to have a clear answer on how to go about, not only disciplining, but overall guiding a child to the right decisions.  And since I don’t know and most of the folks I ask don’t know (or don’t tell), I decided to sign up for a parenting class.


 Yep, I’m going to a parenting class. And if you’re in the Omaha area, you can come too! Just follow the instructions on the form.

Am I embarrassed that I don’t effectively know how to discipline my child without losing my voice and possibly scarring her in the process?  A little.  Am I geeked that I’m finally going to get some answers (or at least some direction)? Heck yeah and ain’t no shame in that.

 Have you ever attended a parenting class?  Did you find it helpful or harmful to your parenting style?  Also, what are your methods for disciplining your little ones?  I’m curious to know!