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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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My RE-Definition of the Most Hated Word for Job Seekers: Networking

Posted on May 24th, 2016

One of the most overused — and least understood — words in the professional development space starts with N: networking.

 

If I use it in my articles or when working with clients, everybody’s like, “Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m supposed to go to events and pass out my business cards and send follow-up emails and suck up to people since it’s all about who you know…”

 

And I want to say, “Nooooo! Stop right there! We are using the same word but meaning different things!”

 

Networking is a horrendous word. It conceptualizes people as objects and characterizes the relationship as entirely fake and transactional.

 

I know thousands of people from every continent and every industry — and I’ve NEVER gone to an event and passed out my card. I recently worked with a new client who's an engineer from France migrating into the Norwegian music industry (of all things), and I was still able to put him in touch with relevant contacts from three different countries.


So what did I do? How do I network? Is there a better way to do it?

 

In my case, I just live my life, move around a lot, naturally gravitate towards certain kinds of people, and do as much as I can for anyone and everyone I meet. Whether a friend of a friend of a friend needs a couch in the city where I’m living or a free resume review or a contact in my field, I try to deliver.


And I’m not shy to ask for help either. I send out messages on a monthly basis to people on LinkedIn who I think are genuinely interesting and I ask them about their careers in the most unassuming way I know how. Most of them respond and we get on the phone or grab coffee or exchange emails and it's hugely enriching. Because these people are so generous with their time for my sake, it makes me want to do the same for everyone in my inbox.

 

Or I’ll write to someone I haven’t spoken to in a couple years and ask if they know anyone in the Mexican real estate industry because another friend of mine needs a leg up or because I'm tackling a bizarre assignment for work. That person almost always pulls through, because they know me and it’s understood that if they needed anything, I’ve got their back, too.

 

And why is that? Because they walked into my life and became part of my “network.” Or I found them fascinating and wanted to be friends, so I fostered a natural, human connection and now we know and support one another. I suppose it's also because I try to be transparent and helpful, so I attract others who are the same way.


Now I want to settle this once and for all.


My concept of “networking” can be defined as:

 

Respect, support, and promote everyone who walks into your life. Then identify and incorporate more interesting and inspiring people into your life. Support all of these people by being generous with your gifts and pick their brain about their unique purpose and talents, too.

 

It goes back to the “you, your life, your career, and your income is the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with” equation. So spend time with the people you want to be like! Find the people you share a common purpose with and befriend them!

 

And above all, love the people who are already in your life.
 

Your “network” isn’t some artificial thing you put in a spreadsheet or monitor on LinkedIn — it’s made up of everyone in your life and everyone who could be in your life if you just made an effort.
 

You have chances to expand that network on a daily basis: Invite a colleague who you don’t know very well to lunch, nurture your relationship with your manager, talk to someone new at the bar, stay in touch with old friends, pursue new hobbies, or engage in your expatriate community if you live abroad. Pay attention to who’s around you, stay genuinely curious about others, communicate authentically, accept and extend invitations, create opportunities for connection, and do spontaneous acts of goodwill.

 

If you do these things every day, you’ll never have to “network” again.

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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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Currently in: Malawi

 

 

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.

 

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?

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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

Instagram

Elaina on Instagram