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About Me

About Me

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Hi, I’m Elaina and I want to help you live life on your terms, find a career you love, and travel as often as you want. 

 

I’ve lived, worked, and traveled to more than 60 countries, including some pretty off-the-beaten path destinations like Mongolia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Paraguay. I’ve also lived out of a suitcase as a full-time nomad for the past 4.5 years, ever since leaving my management consulting gig in New York back in 2013 when I landed an international role at a media company that sent me all over the world to work. You can read my full story here

 

What makes my story unique is that I’ve traveled AND built a professional career, working for companies like IBM and Uber over the years. I’ve also spent long stretches of time freelancing and traveling adventurously through South America, Asia, and Africa. I’m currently freelance writing, coaching professionals through career transitions, and working on a few small business ideas while splitting my time between Berlin, the US, and India. 

 

I write about self-development, digital nomadism, charting unconventional life paths, finding REAL jobs overseas, pursuing long-term travel, and living more purposefully in a fast-paced, confusing world. There’s simply no one-size-fits-all model for creating a life you love. I’m not a full-time digital nomad and I’m not a full-time corporate professional: I’ve done things a bit differently and I think it’s feasible for more people to live “off the beaten path” this way. I hope my blog lets you see that it’s both possible and practical.  

 

I started this blog because I want to help you find an exciting career, travel the world, break the norms, and develop yourself both personally and professionally. Read on or get in touch to set up a 1:1 session with me: elaina@lifebefore30.com.

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How to Survive a 9-to-5 Job When You’re an Entrepreneur at Heart

Posted on September 4th, 2016

office
 
If you’re an entrepreneur at heart, nothing can be more frustrating than clocking in at a traditional 9 to 5 job, feeling like you’re just biding time and saving money until you’re ready to work for yourself.  
 
But this is one time in your life when it’s really important to feel one way and act another. If you sulk into your cubicle every morning, stew in your own negativity all day, and hang around with other colleagues who notoriously resent authority, you’ll develop a reputation that may follow its way into your next venture.
 
What you should be doing is using this time to optimize your skill set, expand your network, get an idea off the ground (on your own time), and think strategically about your exit plan
 
It’s also a time to stay relentlessly upbeat about who you do work for and look for opportunities to stay engaged in your present situation. 
 
Because if you succeed at launching your own business, you’ll be an employer someday too, so earn everyone’s respect — and give yourself some good karma — by being a gracious, hardworking, and successful employee while you’re still in those shoes.
 
Remember, you don’t always have to change what you’re doing to feel more satisfied; sometimes you can create an enormously positive change by adjusting how you’re doing it. 
 
By implementing the strategies below, you can feel good about doing your job while still working towards a bigger dream.
 
 
Be an Intrapreneur
 
 
Exercise your entrepreneurial tendencies by addressing your own areas of dissatisfaction in the workplace. This is called intrapreneurship. If you’re frustrated by inefficiencies in your department, create a thoughtful, practical plan and approach your manager with fresh ideas on how you could help implement them. If you’d like to see more skills sharing, start movement and sign people up to lead lunch-hour workshops.
 
For example, in my old job in the consulting division of one of the largest companies on the planet, I wanted more access to executives, so I teamed up with the HR department and started a grassroots mentorship initiative. In the process, I got to know many senior-level people, learned a lot about human resources, and greatly enhanced my “personal brand” at the company and beyond.
 
Take all the reasons you’re unhappy in your current role and turn them into opportunities to demonstrate your leadership, expand your network, experiment with a form of entrepreneurship, and get noticed by your peers and managers alike. 
 
 
Work Even Harder
 
 
This may be contrary to what you actually feel like doing, but work as hard as you possibly can. Volunteer for assignments in different areas of the business, ask for more training, take a real “stretch” project, get exposure to new teams, and learn as much as you can from this role. I did this with my previous employer and got more than a year of global communications experience in addition to my consulting role. 
 
When you eventually start a business, you’ll have to figure everything out on your own, and you’ll be glad you took the time to learn from a company that was already up-and-running when you had the chance. 
 
Staying at peak performance also leads to strong references, which you’ll need even if you choose to work independently in the future.
 
 
Build Your Network
 
 
Working in an existing company is a great time to grow your network. Who knows, your boss could become a client of yours someday or be able to put you in touch with investors (if he or she likes you) and your colleagues could become allies when they reach senior positions down the line (if they knew and respected you when you worked together). 
 
Open yourself up to mentors and friends in your current job and you might find yourself toasting to a new contract ten years from now, saying, “Remember when we worked at so-and-so place together back in the day?”
 
If you’re working in a completely different field from the one you want to be in long-term, don’t despair. Your boss in investment banking might know someone in the fashion industry, or your colleague in retail might have connections at a top PhD program. Think of the broader possibilities when you have more cheerleaders in your life.
 
 
Appreciate the Steady Income 
 
 
The day will come when your neck is on the line for every deal. Some months you’ll earn well and some you’ll be relying on your savings account to keep you afloat, so build up that “tough day as an entrepreneur” fund now. 
 
Also, take advantage of your employee benefits. If your company gets discounts at the theater, go; if you get extra healthcare benefits, use them now. It may be awhile until you see those kind of perks again. 
 
 
Manage a Side Hustle
 
 
Now is the time to get your business off the ground, so dedicate your nights and weekends to exploring what does excite you and rapidly generating ideas for a profitable and self-driven future.
 
At the very least, find a creative outlet for your talents outside of the workplace. One of my closest friends started an arts program for young professionals in Toronto, which although it isn’t earning money, it’s teaching her a whole lot about managing and branding a new organization, not to mention expanding her network 
 
 
Get Up Earlier
 
 
This might sound really crazy, but use the predictability of your situation to your advantage. Getting up a little earlier enables you to design a morning routine that gets you jazzed about the day ahead. The most successful people are up early prioritizing their day, knocking out small stages of bigger side projects, and investing in themselves. 
 
Schedule time for anything you dream about doing while you’re “stuck at work” during the day: writing, reading, exercising, brainstorming business ideas, sending pitches to investors, meditating, or spending time with family — whatever makes you happy. 
 
 
Stay Positive 
 
 
No matter how you may actually feel, always stay positive about your employer. If you speak negatively about your current job in an interview, for instance, the prospective company may imagine you doing the same to them down the road and question your loyalty, judgment, and character.
 
Always think about you and your reputation in the context of the greater market well beyond your company, network, and industry. Never bad-mouth the organization, your colleagues, or the product, now or in the future. 
 
Focus on the skills you learned, the wonderful people you were able to work with, and the self-knowledge that helped inspire your path forward. 
 
This attitude and poise will earn you respect, and that’s priceless.

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About Me

About Me

IMG_5937

Hi, I’m Elaina and I want to help you live life on your terms, find a career you love, and travel as often as you want. 

 

I’ve lived, worked, and traveled to more than 60 countries, including some pretty off-the-beaten path destinations like Mongolia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Paraguay. I’ve also lived out of a suitcase as a full-time nomad for the past 4.5 years, ever since leaving my management consulting gig in New York back in 2013 when I landed an international role at a media company that sent me all over the world to work. You can read my full story here

 

What makes my story unique is that I’ve traveled AND built a professional career, working for companies like IBM and Uber over the years. I’ve also spent long stretches of time freelancing and traveling adventurously through South America, Asia, and Africa. I’m currently freelance writing, coaching professionals through career transitions, and working on a few small business ideas while splitting my time between Berlin, the US, and India. 

 

I write about self-development, digital nomadism, charting unconventional life paths, finding REAL jobs overseas, pursuing long-term travel, and living more purposefully in a fast-paced, confusing world. There’s simply no one-size-fits-all model for creating a life you love. I’m not a full-time digital nomad and I’m not a full-time corporate professional: I’ve done things a bit differently and I think it’s feasible for more people to live “off the beaten path” this way. I hope my blog lets you see that it’s both possible and practical.  

 

I started this blog because I want to help you find an exciting career, travel the world, break the norms, and develop yourself both personally and professionally. Read on or get in touch to set up a 1:1 session with me: elaina@lifebefore30.com.

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Previously in: Berlin

 

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Five years ago, I changed my whole life in 30 days. I scored the job of my dreams, quit my job in New York, sold everything I owned, moved to West Africa, and never looked back. Read about it here.

 

Now I use Office Hours to help my clients do the same.

 

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Currently in: Malawi

 

 

Previously in: Berlin

 

img_6015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Hot

Recent Posts

Coaching

Coaching

Step into my office!

 

Five years ago, I changed my whole life in 30 days. I scored the job of my dreams, quit my job in New York, sold everything I owned, moved to West Africa, and never looked back. Read about it here.

 

Now I use Office Hours to help my clients do the same.

 

Do you want to travel but are scared to quit your job?

Do you want to find a job overseas but don’t know where to start?

Do you wake up in the morning dreading what’s ahead?

Read more

Like Me on Facebook

Like Me On Facebook

Follow me on twitter

Follow me on twitter

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Elaina on Instagram