A life is full of reasons to …
… not share your real self
… build your life around one value: security
… work because “you have to”
… keep your dreams a secret (even from yourself)
compare your “progress” to others + not believe in yourself.

So I exist to write + teach + inspire you to believe in yourself.

Which really means that I show you how to make your own fairy tale career come true. Because now that you’re here, it means you’re old enough to start believing in fairy tales again.

My name is Sabrina Ali. And I’m a Career Counselor.

I work with professionals and executives under 40 (virtually + around the world) that don’t feel fulfilled by the careers that they worked so hard for. So what I do, is I teach them how to become their own Career Advisor. If this applies to you, you’ll know this: You’re busy people who still want wisdom and sense in busyness. Because there’s nothing quite like navigating your career path with confidence, clarity while being true to yourself.

I invite you to fill out the tiny form on the right so that we can rendez-vous in your inbox (right now about 2-3 times a month). Below is where the library of articles begins (you’ll always be the first to get them if you’re on my very confidential list + some more private messages about what’s going on behind the scenes). Here is where you can find a road map in digital form (something I created just for people experiencing career disappointment + dissatisfaction), to learn more about me, click here and/or how I may be of assistance to you?

If you’d like, you are always welcome to drop me a note. You can do that here.

Make yourself at home. xo

are you paid to be nice at work?

Grade 11 was the worst year of my life. Knowledge that my step-father had sexually abused me when I was younger reached the authorities and I was going to have to testify in court. At about the same time my boyfriend had broken up with me and I had no idea why.

I was interviewed by the police about the incidents in my childhood, and in the interview, I was asked if I had ever told anyone about what had happened to me.

I had. I told them that my boyfriend knew. The one who had just broken up with me.

At school the next day, I went up to my ex, told him about the interview and that I was asked to disclose if I had ever shared my secret with anyone. I explained that they now knew that he knew.

His face had always been friendly and even through the hurt and confusion our unexplained break up was bittersweet, so I was taken aback when his eyes narrowed to a hardened gaze. His expression darkened; he was irritated by what I had just told him. I didn’t have to tell the police that he knew, he said. He didn’t understand why I had done that. He didn’t like the position I had put him in.

“Well, I kind of feel the same about the way we broke up,” was my internal reply. I turned away from him as my eyes filled with tears. Clearly we weren’t meant to be friends.

I felt so alone. I was scared. Now that people were finding out that I had been abused I thought no one would ever want to associate with me ever again. This was, in part, why I had carried the painful truth about what had happened to me for so long.

At lunchtime I sat on the speckled floor leaning against my locker. I heard footsteps pass but I never looked up. As far as I was concerned, I was alone.

Then a brown shoe entered my vision and I heard the crinkling of a jacket as someone slid down the adjacent locker to sit next to me. I glanced up. It was my grade 9 English teacher, Mr. Pearce – one of my favorite teachers from high school.

“Hey,” he said.

“Hey.” I managed.

“You’ve got stuff going on.”

“Yeah.” I nodded.

I had told the school guidance counselor what was going on at home and she told my teachers so that I had “special permission” to come and go from the classroom as I needed. I guess word got around. I had never talked about my break-up though and yet, somehow he knew. He asked me what my ex had said about what was happening at home.

I told Mr. Pearce about our exchange earlier that day. His sigh made him sound even more disappointed in my ex than I was. This caught my attention. His response was unexpected given that I was telling myself that no one would ever want to know someone as screwed up as I was.

“He thinks that life is about living with a squeaky clean image. It’s not. He let you down. He had a choice to be kind and he didn’t take it. I know him and I’m disappointed that he did that. I’m sorry.” said Mr. Pearce.

I hadn’t been able to hold anyone’s gaze for a few days because I was afraid of the tears that inevitably came to embarrass me further. But I looked into Mr. Pearce’s eyes and hoped that I eeked out an audible “thank you” while the tears of gratitude came.

He smiled warmly and told me that I would be fine, but that he wasn’t too sure about my ex. I smiled back. Were teachers allowed to say stuff like that aloud?

He got up and slipped back into the nearest classroom where I heard him raise his voice to tell the class that it was time to reconvene. The door behind him closed softly.

Mr. Pearce didn’t have to do what he did for me. He didn’t even have to know what he knew about me. I, for one, thought that he’d long forgotten who I was after grade 9 English because he never taught me again after that. And for all I thought shouldn’t be, Mr. Pearce saw himself differently. Obviously.

Somehow, we get mixed up about what our work is and who we are. Employers and employees alike. We forget that first and foremost we’re human. And when we forget that we’re human, we don’t see those we interact with or serve as humans either. I’ve worked with people in charge of companies that rely solely on the success of their service who aren’t listening to themselves when they say, “I hate people” and hide in their office.

So many of us not only disassociate our humanness from our work, but ask others to do the same. We forget that you can’t pay someone for things that they do in their job that aren’t necessarily part of their job. Like being kind.

And that’s not a bad thing.

This is why you need to create work (or approach your very same work) in a way that you can be nice. And if you’re not doing that, promise to do whatever it takes to learn about why that’s not happening so that you can do it. It’s as much for you as it is for someone else.

There is work for you in which you can effortlessly be a compassionate and kind human being. You can’t help it and in these cases pay is a moot point. Because compassion and kindness are not things you can be paid for. It’s who you are and who you would be … job or no job.

P.S. I don’t think of grade 11 as the worst year ever anymore. It was a year of preparation for adulthood in which I learned some stuff that I have valued ever since. It was a difficult year to be sure and at the time it was the worst year of my life, but (thankfully) I’m not 17 anymore.

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November 25, 2015 tagged as:

how to create an amazing resume letterhead (part 2)

Want Part 1 first? Here it is. Corey’s resume letterhead and story: When Corey and I started work on her resume she claimed that her work history had no rhyme nor reason to it. She’d done a little of this, a little of that, and some other stuff too. And if you didn’t know any…

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October 26, 2015 tagged as: ,

how to create an amazing resume letterhead (part 1)

The resume is finite real estate and what that means is that what goes on it is curated. By you. About you. So not only does the resume content matter, the design does too. And the design of your resume begins with your resume letterhead. It matters because it “says” something about you. Just like…

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August 31, 2015 tagged as:

the great resume checklist

Now that you’ve seen, studied and reflected upon your existing resume in reference to the sample from the last article, this step asks you to create a checklist so that you know when your very own resume is complete. Otherwise how will you know when it’s time to stop tinkering and put it to use?…

the anatomy of a resume

It’s not bragging if you can back it up. – Muhammad Ali A resume is composed of parts and structure – it has a recognizable anatomy. This you know. If you give someone a resume that departs too much from the anatomy that they’re familiar with they can’t relate to it. It doesn’t “count” as…

why treating yourself as a commodity is a great disservice (part 4)

Here’s the point of your resume: Ability to self-attune = self worth = career satisfaction What we see in the career landscape of today is that resumes that are supposed to represent your self-worth (and also determine a monetary worth for the work that you do) are actually resumes filled to the brim with shame…

why treating yourself as a commodity is a great disservice (part 3)

In the previous article you may have discovered that you unconsciously perceive your work as a venue for meeting your unmet childhood needs of acceptance, love and approval. In fact, you might have been funnelling most of your daily energy into this as your work and can tell because you feel its influence over how…

why treating yourself as a commodity is a great disservice (part 2)

On your resume you’ll know that you are commoditizing yourself if you notice any of the following (psst … this is where you take out your existing resume and check it against this list): :: Phrases taken directly in part or whole from books, online materials or from other people’s resumes to help you create…

why treating yourself as a commodity is a great disservice (part 1)

Human beings are not commodities. And yet, the way that you’ve learned to think, write, and treat yourself and others professionally is in the terms of commoditization. And what is a commodity exactly? (Just so we’re on the same page) A commodity is something that exists to satisfy needs. The problem with this perspective is…

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February 23, 2015 tagged as:

the real reason you can’t be yourself on your resume

When I talk about being more authentic or more real on your resume the response I receive is often “stink eye.” I’ve been told that things “should” be the way I propose (that you can be more authentic and that employers actually want you to be so on your resume), but that I live in…

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February 10, 2015 tagged as: ,
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