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Why You Need To Work.

Work isn’t a four letter word. Sure, it has four distinct letters, but it’s anything but crass in the world of constant sales, marketing, prestige and (you guessed it) money.

People want work from you. More honestly, you expect work from everyone else. From the moment you step on a sidewalk or start using a public road to the instant you click on a webpage that manages to load, you expect all of the pieces to fall into place for you.

In a way, this a fantastic thing to appreciate – a world where we can expect instant gratification from so many facets of life.

Yet we hate to work. That is obvious. Slogans like “Work Smarter, not Harder” are sadly famous for motivating us to take shortcuts over doing things the right way.

Don’t get me wrong; using a hammer to build a house is better than your thumbs. That is an example of working hard and smart.

What I mean is that you can’t build meaningful things without work.

work

Too often, good folks will email me asking for shortcuts. They want my help to find tips and tricks to bypassing the work that is necessary for them to gain credibility in their given field.

It’s alright to ask, but before you do, can you honestly say that your work is good enough to show up on Wall Street Journal or The New Yorker?

But that’s what we (myself included) want. Shortcuts to success. We think we deserve it because we have nominal talent that has been validated by a handful of barely impressive people.

Real work doesn’t look like that. It looks like a construction project. We’re consistently building something that we are hoping will resemble a complete, finished product. We’ll make mistakes along the way. The house we’re building may have to be a duplex, and that extra bathroom may take up too much square footage.

Most times, however, the house we’re building can turn into a mansion.

When I started building jonnegroni(dot)com, I imagined it as a comfy apartment that would be big enough for me and some good friends. Thanks to some impressive readers and a weird attitude my parents brought me up with, it turned into something bigger and better.

I’m a believer that no vision is big enough, and if your goal is to build something larger than life, I’m the last person to discourage you. Just know that a big vision requires blueprints, strong hands, and maybe even a team.

Thanks for reading! You can subscribe to this blog by email via the prompt on the sidebar. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@JonNegroni). I’ll follow you back if you say something witty and awesome.

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What if You Don’t Love What You Do?

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Have you ever had that realization that you hate your profession?

Go on…What if You Don’t Love What You Do?

7 Ways to Get The Day Off

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We all crave those days when we can just take a day off and recharge our batteries. For most of us, these are “personal days” that we use with discretion.

If you’re desperate, however, you can always turn to alternative excuses that you can present to your employer.

Such as:

1. It’s raining and you’ll melt if it touches you.

2. God told you not to work today.

3. You had a sudden urge to make pancakes and it just can’t wait.

4. There is a hostage situation in your living room involving a giant spider, a Nerf gun, and an upside down empty glass.

Other times, you are already at your place of employment, so getting out of work for a day is a little trickier. Luckily, you have several other options.

Such as:

5. You’re secretly a spy and the CIA called with a lucrative mission and that’s all you can say. Other than you need the day off of course.

6. There is a strange humming noise coming from outside and you have to go check it out. But it takes all day to find it. And if he asks, tell him it was a giant cicada threatening to tear the office down. “Needless to say he won’t be bothering us again, sir.”

7. Finally, you’ve been contacted by the mafia who have been trying to extort your part-time job of managing a bakery, so you need to leave the office and retaliate, Gran Torino style.

What’s the lesson here then? Don’t be lazy and try to get out of work. Your excuses usually sound just as ridiculous as the ones above.

*Above excuses were written courtesy of SituationallyOpal, a free-thinking college student who has perfected the art of creative day off excuses.* 

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person. You can also subscribe to this blog by clicking the “follow” button in the top-left corner.

Don’t forget to check out New Professional News, a list of headlines essential for any new professional, updated daily at 8am.

A Day In The Life of a New Professional

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What can you expect from post-grad life? A friend of mine asked me this just a few days ago. He’ll be graduating in just a few weeks, and I can’t blame him for being curious.

I asked myself this question one year ago, right before I completed my own undergrad. Since then, my life has changed dramatically, and I am anxious to give some words of encouragement to anyone who is about to embark on the post-grad adventure.

That said, I had a hard time answering my friend’s question, so I decided to use my favorite writing tool of all time: storytelling.

This article is a chronicle of a typical day for me, Jon Negroni, and hopefully it will shed some light on the type of lifestyle you can expect from career life. There is a lot in the post about work, of course, but I also shared some of the more personal, albeit trivial, details of what exactly a day looks like for me.

[I wrote this last night] Today was Monday. The 22nd of April in 2013.

I woke up at 7am, completely cold thanks to this year’s oddly frigid April. Like any other day, I immediately went to my desk and made my daily to-do list and prayed to God that I would complete everything I had to do.

Because I don’t have to go to work until 10am, I had three hours to prepare for the day, so I read two chapters of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest and went on my morning run. As always, I opted to do my morning run in silence in order to gather my thoughts for the day and get my mind going.

I walked my dog and grabbed The Wall Street Journal from my doorstep. I then made my breakfast and morning coffee while reading the paper. This part of the day is essential so that I can grasp the current events I can use and share later in the day.

Once I skimmed through the news, I checked my Facebook, Twitter, and some stats for jonnegroni.com

This is easily my favorite part of the day, as it usually consists of me browsing my social media channels stretched out on the couch with my dog comfortably beside me.

While getting ready for work, I turned the radio to NPR and caught some news on the Boston Bomber story. It got pretty depressing, so I eventually turned on Spotify and listened to folk music for the rest of the morning.

Though I don’t have to come in until 10am, I mostly aim to arrive  about a half an hour early so that I can start the morning at a steady pace. The drive to work is only a few minutes, so I listened to “Time With You” by Marc Robillard, which is what I listen to on my way to work every single day. I like routines as you’ve probably gathered by now.

I am the social media and Google AdWords manager for a faith-based nonprofit, so I divide my day into two major sections of work. I give my mornings and early afternoon to social media and the rest to AdWords.

I began the day by writing all of our new stats on my dry erase board, which shows off our likes, reach, and followers for each of our social media channels, which includes two Facebook pages and two Twitter feeds.

After I checked over all of our notifications, mentions, retweets and favorites, I began posting our first round of stories.

The first few posts were based on content delivered to me at 8am, so it didn’t take long for me to get to the next stage of my typical day: gluttony. I scoured the internet for content to share and publish for our brand, using Google Alerts and Talkwalker. At any given time I’ll have up to about 1,000 articles and news stories to read through and disseminate.

I also sifted through my email while doing this. I went the whole weekend without marking my emails, so I ended up having 181 unread emails to deal with. I didn’t find anything particularly important except for a few articles I read  and shared online.

By 11am, I had almost all of the day’s posts for Facebook and Twitter completed and scheduled, so I moved on to social media engagement.

Our website prompts you to create a profile, so I greet our new members every day and invite them to connect with us on social media. Since we had a weekend full of new members, it took me longer than normal to get through the list.

Next, I went over our notifications again and measured impressions for all of our posts over the weekend. I’ve been experimenting a lot with new types of stories we share, so I’ve been spending plenty of time watching our posts closely to see what works and what doesn’t.

Before I went to lunch at 12:30, I brought up the blog post I wrote Sunday night and did one last proofread. Once it was published and shared, I finally went home for lunch, though I checked my WordPress app for likes and shares almost the entire time.

Before I ate lunch, I went on another run, but this time using a Sony Walkman I received for free as a Klout.com perk. The music player is ideal for running since there are no wires, and they’re great for doing a run when I’m in a hurry. I ran for 10 minutes (so I wouldn’t sweat) and then came back inside to eat leftovers from the night before.

I headed back to work to finish the social media half of my day. Using Talkwalker again, I scoured the internet for keywords based on our brand to see who was talking about us and why. I found some articles people shared via Twitter and then made a startling discovery:  Some of our content had been plagiarized.

You see, we write landing pages that are designed to help people with various problems such as suicide, depression, and mental health (that’s where my Google AdWords work comes in). One of our most popular pages is a large list full of simple tips on improving mental health.

Thanks to Talkwalker (which I’m doing a review on later this week), I discovered that the content of this page had been copied and posted on another brand’s Facebook page (I won’t divulge their name) without attributing our organization to the author.

I let my boss know about this and then communicated with the admin of the page in order to get the post properly credited. All in a day’s work for your local social media manager.

By 2:30, I was ready to spend the last four hours of my workday on Google AdWords.

Unlike social media, a lot of this work is a little more tedious and involves numbers and data, although today I wrote copy for ads we are preparing in regards to a child sponsorship project. I  also did keyword research for our search ads.

We use Google AdWords to drive people to our landing pages, which are about tough topics like marital issues, mental illnesses, and more. I create ads for these pages, add tons of keywords, and then measure our clicks, impressions, and conversions  for each of these pages in order to properly allocate our AdWords budget as effectively as possible.

There’s not much more to it than that. I like this part of my day because it allows my mind to sort of empty. I’ll listen to podcasts, classical music, and NPR to keep myself entertained. Today I listened to a few Freakonomics podcasts.

I finished the day’s work about an hour early, so I began to cool down and read blogs and articles that I could use for the next day before I eventually went home.

I changed into casual clothes and went to get groceries for the week. I went home and cooked to 90s music, ignoring my dog’s pleas for attention. Once I finished dinner and cleaned the kitchen, it was already sunset, so I set out to walk to a coffee shop just a few blocks away from where I live.

On my walk, I listened to “Rhapsody in Blue” by Gershwin, which was pretty much the most beautiful part of my day, as I observed the shifting sky to beautiful music.

I ran into a couple of friends at the coffee shop, including an old friend I hadn’t seen in a while and managed to catch up with. I got my beverage and read a few more chapters of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest before walking back home to “Meditation” by Thais, which was fantastic.

As soon as I got home, I changed into workout clothes and went to play tennis with one of my close friends for a couple of hours. Unfortunately, she completely bested me, but I still managed to have a great time.

I went home, cleaned up, and then worked on my book that I plan to have completed sometime this decade (sarcasm).

And then I wrote this article. Once I’ve finished, I plan on reading a few another chapter or two and getting some much-needed rest.

So there you have it. A typical day in the life of a new professional. I like to think that every single person has days exactly like this, but that is unfortunately ridiculous.

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person. You can also subscribe to this blog by clicking the “follow” button in the top-left corner.

Don’t forget to check out THE JON REPORT every day, updated at 8am for a list of today’s main headlines as selected by my editorial team (me) 

What The Weekends Should Be For

At least for me, my work week is packed full of writing. In other words, I spend my time at work just putting out tons of information from my mind. For you, that can be in the form of something else, but the idea remains the same.

When it comes time to plan out my weekend, I am then faced with trouble. I want to be productive, but I am mentally exhausted. What can I do to keep myself from being lethargic without missing out on much-needed rest?

For me, the solution is reading. After days of spouting content from my mind, it is actually refreshing to just take in some profound insights from something else. Escapism if you will. The key is to find something that isn’t just entertaining, but thought-provoking as well. In other words, if it isn’t interesting enough for you to talk about the rest of that week, you’ve probably wasted your time.

JN

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