250: Choosing Your Hard in Your Career and Life

250: Choosing Your Hard in Your Career and Life


To celebrate the 250th episode milestone, I recorded an episode on the topic of choosing your hard in your career and life. I share what’s been coming up for me in the conversations I’ve been having behind closed doors with undergrads, graduate students, faculty, higher ed staff, and working professionals outside of academia. I highlight common struggles that we’re all facing and why it’s important that we get to choose our own path based on our values and mission despite knowing that there will be hurdles along the way.

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250: Choosing Your Hard in Your Career and Life


Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: [00:00:00] Welcome to the top rated and award nominated Grad School Femtoring Podcast, the place for first gen BIPOCs to learn about all things grad school, personal development, and sustainable productivity. This is Doctora Yvette Martinez Vu, and I will be serving as your Femtor, providing you with tips and tricks and everything else you need to know to successfully navigate grad school and beyond.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: For over 13 years, I've been empowering first gen students of color along their academic and professional journeys, and I'm really excited to support you too.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Doctora Yvette here. Before starting today's episode, I want to announce that my co authored book, Is Grad School for Me? Demystifying the Application Process for First Gen BIPOC Students, is available for pre order. [00:01:00] It officially comes out on April 16th, and between now and the rest of the year, my co author and I are available to speak at your next event.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: We are excited because this is the first book that provides first generation, low income, and non traditional students of color with insider knowledge on how to consider and navigate grad school. It's the book that we both wish we had when we were undertaking our own grad admissions process at UCLA many years ago.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: The book is both a corrective and a calling card to the lack of clear guidance for historically excluded students navigating the onerous and often overwhelming process of applying to grad school. We walk you through the process from first asking yourself whether grad school is even the right next step for you, to then providing you with step by step instructions on how to maneuver every aspect of the grad admissions process, including providing you with sample essays, [00:02:00] templates, and relatable scenarios.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: If you're interested, we encourage you to pre order your copy today or have your local library order a copy. You can also reach out to us for bulk order discount codes. Lastly, we are available for book talks, workshops, keynotes, panels, and even book club visitations. Go to www. gradschoolfemtoring. com slash book to learn more.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Welcome back everyone to another episode of the Grad School Femtoring Podcast. This is your host, Dr. Yvette. Today is episode 250. For me, that's another milestone episode. I'm one quarter of the way to getting to a thousand episodes. And, I feel like some of the milestones were, , arriving at How many episodes?

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Maybe like my first [00:03:00] dozen episodes was a big deal. Then getting to episode 50 because I thought to myself, I'm halfway to 100. Then I got to 100. That felt like a big deal again. And then 150, then 200, and now 250. And I found myself going through the cycle of each time I get to a number, which might feel arbitrary, but for me feels like a milestone.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: I put this external pressure on myself that has nothing to do with anything that anyone else has told me. I just, I don't know. It's just me. Not even external. It's more a self imposed pressure of, I have to come up with a really good topic and, or have a really cool guest for this episode because it's meaningful.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Right? And I thought to myself, I don't want to, I don't want to pressure myself. Instead, I want to have an open and honest conversation about topics that have been [00:04:00] coming up for me right now. And what came up for me? I'll tell you a little bit more about what's coming up for me in my life and career.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: I'll also tell you a little bit more about some of the conversations I've been having behind closed doors with undergrads, grad students, working professionals, and some of the trends I've been noticing within and outside higher education related to career trajectories and just us trying to live our lives.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: And long story short, when I think about all these things. All at once, the overarching thread that comes up for me is that we get to choose our hard. You choose your hard when it comes to choosing your career and life path and there is no single path that is going to be completely easy. That's just not how life works.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: So let's talk about choosing our hard and let me get into some of the specific details. Right now for [00:05:00] me, as some of you may know, I am going into my third year of, uh, full time entrepreneurship. I right now have my one on one coaching and consulting clients. I also last month wrapped up another cohort of my group coaching program called the Grad School Femtoring Academy.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Where I teach the fundamentals of personal development and what I call sustainable productivity. And that went very well, it's a very fulfilling, , group coaching program and I'm looking forward to running it again at least one more time later this year. So I've got , my coaching, , programs, and then I also am doing a lot of speaking engagements.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: I have been offering signature topics of speaking engagements for workshops and for keynotes, and I've been doing more of those this year, both virtual and in person. [00:06:00] And most of my speaking engagements are around topics related to grad school admissions and demystifying higher ed One side and personal development, sustainable productivity, and what some people call work life balance on another side.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: So that's coming up and my speaking engagements are going to keep increasing because I also have my book coming out this year. My co authored book is Grad School for Me, Demystifying the Application Process for First Gen BIPOC Students comes out this If you haven't heard about my book up to this point, then I haven't done a good enough job of marketing it.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: I have tried to spread the word, , especially via email marketing. So directly targeting the audiences and especially the programs that we want to buy books for their students to make sure that folks get the support that they need. and I hope that you enjoyed this video. One of the reasons why [00:07:00] my coauthor and I wrote this book is because we both felt when we were in undergrad, like we didn't know a lot about the process of applying to grad school.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: In my case, I felt like I wasn't even given the option to decide for myself. I felt pressured to apply and go to grad school. I didn't think I had other possibilities and I ran into so many hurdles. So much frustration behind not knowing what was going on, not knowing what came next, not knowing what I could do with my degree and then with my PhD.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: And it just keeps coming up over and over and over again. The whole issue of learning to navigate the hidden curriculum of any field or industry, any system that's going to keep happening in your life. It's not just happening in college. It's not just happening in grad school. It's not just happening in a new industry.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: It keeps coming up, especially as you level up and as you try to advance in your career in life, [00:08:00] you're gonna keep coming up with more hurdles. And one of the ways that we can help to combat this is by getting support, getting support in the form of finding mentors. Femtors, finding sponsors, finding, , coaches, therapists, anyone in a helping profession who can support you on this path.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: And for me, I can serve in that role for some, especially when I work with my undergrad and my grad student clients. And even some working professionals who are navigating similar trajectories as I have. And then at the same time, I also have , my network of peers and a couple of femtors that I'm relying on.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: And one of the things that I've always been curious about for as long as I can remember is what conversations are people having behind closed doors, what's coming up for me that I, that. I wish others would have told me earlier on, how [00:09:00] do people get to where they are? I, I mean, you can call that a special interest.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: You can say I'm obsessed with that. I'm obsessed with the how, how do people do it? What are people talking about? And so let me give you a little bit of Of an insider perspective on the conversations I've been having. So I work with undergrads, grad students, working professionals, and for working professionals, folks inside and even outside of higher ed.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: I also have a vast network of colleagues who are professors in higher ed. staff members in higher ed, and folks in industry. So folks who work for non profits, folks who are entrepreneurs, folks who work for big corporations. My network keeps growing. And among the undergrads, the trends that I'm noticing is, is, I mean, some of them are not a surprise.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: It has been happening, a decline in mental health, but more recently, [00:10:00] especially since COVID started, I've noticed more and more of the folks that I work, their programs hire me, by the way, they're not paying me, it's their, it's their programs that pay me. So these undergraduate students are navigating so many challenges related to What some people might call fitting the nontraditional student category, meaning that they have so many other responsibilities.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: They're having to work multiple jobs. They're caregivers for their parents, grandparents, siblings, or sometimes they are parents themselves. They have a lot on their plate. So they're overwhelmed and under resourced and under supported. That's what's going on for them. What's going on for grad students?

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Similarly, a decline in mental health. Similarly, feeling like they're not receiving enough support. And specifically for grad students, there's a lot of toxicity among their advisors. There's also a lot of feeling neglected, feeling Like there's a lack of structure, lack of communication. I've talked about this in a previous episode recently [00:11:00] about how important it is to advocate for yourself, especially in grad school.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: So that's what's coming up for them. And with the working professionals, the folks who are both staff members and professors in higher ed are burnt out. That is the overwhelming percentage. feeling I get and the overwhelming, uh, sense based on what they're sharing with me in our conversations. It's just that they've got so much on their plate.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: They are feeling exploited. There's just more and more to do each year. And, and oftentimes they're feeling undervalued too, because there's more work. Some folks are understaffed or short staffed, and they're not even getting paid. Compensate it adequately to be able to make ends meet wherever they're living.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: And I know this is a big thing because I have a lot of colleagues, friends, , and folks I work with who are on the West Coast because I'm originally from the West Coast, so in California. I [00:12:00] also have a good amount of folks that I know who live in New York City and Chicago. Those are big cities. I guess I'm a big city girl, so I attract big city people.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: I don't know. But interestingly enough, a good portion of my undergrad clients are from the Midwest. And I mean, everybody's struggling. Everybody's struggling in some way, shape or form. So even among my folks in like positions outside of higher ed, so the folks that are in corporate, again, Burnt out, toxic supervisors, uh, incompetent colleagues who get away with doing the least and getting paid the most.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: It's just issues of racism, sexism, ableism, et cetera. Entrepreneurs are also struggling. Oh my gosh. So many of us. Externally, you look at our websites, it looks like we're doing good. We're sharing with you all of our accomplishments, but behind closed doors, we're like struggling to make ends meet, struggling to figure out where our next paycheck is going to come, struggling to figure out, am I making the right decision?

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Should I keep up with entrepreneurship or should I just [00:13:00] cave in and get a full time job? And by the way, I am one of those people that going into my third year, I am still trying to figure out how to make ends meet. You look at my website, you look at my rates, you're probably thinking I'm making a lot of money.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: And in actuality, because of having to constantly be on the lookout for our next paycheck, when you add it all up, I'm not making that much. I still haven't replaced my previous higher ed salary. I'm working towards it though and I am on a upward, , incline and on an upward trajectory. So I do have that hope and I'm continuing to, , invest in my business.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: I believe in It's long term potential, so I'm going to keep going with it, but I'm not going to lie if I don't say that every now and again, I do worry about that. And so all of this to say, because I have to log off soon, I have a meeting coming up really quickly, but long story short, all of us are struggling and all of us get to [00:14:00] choose our hard.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: You choose your heart, because life is not easy. Not all of life is hard, but there are going to be some challenges. Some roadblocks along the way, and so you get to decide based on your values, based on your mission, based on the things that are meaningful to you, how are you going to find a way to make ends meet, and how are you going to spend your time, how do you want to be remembered, and what can you do now so that You feel like you're taking control.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: I choose my hard of being an entrepreneur. Got friends choose their hard of making big money and working for big companies. And other friends, they choose their heart by staying in higher ed and pursuing the tenure track. So you decide that for yourself. Don't let other people decide for you. But please know, even when folks make it seem like they're doing okay, a lot of us are struggling.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Please be compassionate with one another. And that's it. That's the message I wanted to [00:15:00] give you for episode 250 that, , a lot of us are struggling, but we get to choose our hard. And not everything is hard. So you decide what you want to prioritize and where you're okay with having some rough spots in your career and life.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Okay, y'all, that's it for today. I will talk to you all next time.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Thanks so much for joining me in the Grad School Femtoring Podcast. If you like what you heard, here are four ways you can support the show. The first is to make sure you're subscribed and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. The second way is to get your copy of my free Grad School Femtoring Resource Kit, which includes essential information to prepare for and navigate grad school.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: You can access it at the link in today's show notes. The third way to support my show is to follow me on social media. You can find me on Instagram with the handle at gradschoolfemtoring and on LinkedIn [00:16:00] by searching my name. The last way to show your love is to sign up to work with me via my Grad School Femtoring Academy, my group coaching program for first gen BIPOCs seeking to work on their personal growth and gain sustainable productivity skills.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: You can learn more at gradschoolfemtoring. com slash academy. Thanks again for listening and until next time.

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