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Who the f*** am I?

Hi! I am a human who has intermittent experiences of imposter syndrome – have you heard of it? Do you experience it? It’s kind of the worst, right?

So, in the months leading up to the formal launch of my new career coaching practice, I found myself wondering, “who the f*** am I to presume that I can support people in identifying and reaching career and personal goals?” What on earth could I offer someone when I am [insert a long and dramatic scroll of deficiencies here]? But with years of therapy under my belt, I am now able to move myself through such self-loathing habits of thinking and remind myself that I have put in the work to become someone that I like, someone with competencies and passions and insights and qualities that I value. It took me a while to get here.

You might be wondering why I would expose so much about my own insecurities in my first career coaching blog post. Perhaps you are thinking, Yejin, people aren’t going to want to work with you as their career coach if the first thing you tell them is that you sometimes feel like an imposter or fraud!

My answer to that is this: I will always practice public vulnerability in service of learning and in creating community. I believe the most meaningful path to personal and professional growth requires a certain level of self-awareness, humility, and vulnerability.  I am a whole and messy and fully realized human. And so I present to you more information on who the f*** I am.

I am…(in no particular order)

  • A nonprofit industry lifer who is both deeply critical of and inspired by the field
  • A woman of color with a passion for operationalizing antiracism work
  • An “old” millennial who still likes talking on the phone as much as I like texting
  • A rule-abider, except when rules don’t make sense or are inequitable, in which case I err on the side of complete millennial irreverence
  • Unusually reflective, with intense analyses of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
  • A recovering defensive pessimist (someone who anticipates worst case scenarios in order to avoid worst case scenarios)
  • Organized AF
  • Seriously opinionated
  • As obsessed with TV as I am with cooking and eating
  • A[n admittedly bad] Korean-American
  • Startled, angered, overjoyed, and moved to tears easily
  • Extremely attuned to how different types of power function at the interpersonal and institutional levels in work environments
  • An ENFJ (Myers Briggs)
  • A Type 1w2   | Type 1: The Reformer / Type 2: The Helper  (Enneagram)
  • A Ravenclaw (My full breakdown by %: 73% Ravenclaw, 14% Hufflepuff, 12% Gryffindor, and 1% Slytherin)


What I know

As a classic personal-growth-obsessed millennial, I have moved from job to job every 1-2 years for the past decade collecting skills, passions, knowledge, and, importantly, a sense of non-negotiable values and practices I need to see from any prospective employer. Over the years I have gained useful insights and competencies not only around job application and interviewing processes, but also in assessing career pathways, identifying roots and routes of organizational dysfunction, finding practical short, mid, and long-term solutions to these problems, figuring out how and when to engage (or disengage) in conflict, etc.

People are my favorite part of anything

While I have found myself succeeding in roles related to external affairs and fundraising, most of my favorite work centers the solving of problems related to humans. I like to do this by: (1) deeply and rapidly getting to know my most excellent colleagues; (2) taking what I learned about each person to provide  formal and informal structures to support the growth and optimize the work of my most excellent colleagues. In nearly every job I’ve had, I have happily become the “Unofficial Human Resources Person”, “Unofficial Union Rep,” “Staff Therapist,” etc., to help the rad humans in my world to identify what they want/need, and to strategically pursue that desire.

Why I started this practice

I started thinking about what it would mean to have my own practice as a job coach when I participated in a volunteer event that had the well-intentioned goal of increasing the confidence of young girls (predominantly of color) in preparation for college and job interviews. While the intent behind the event was commendable, I couldn’t help but wonder why we are teaching young people to perform extroversion in specific ways, why we instruct our kids to “fake it” until they make it, why we train people to say only what people want to hear and not their truths, why we encourage the people we love most deeply to veil what makes them unique and authentically them. Of course, much of this comes from the reality of how employers hire (poorly). However, as both an idealist and a pragmatist, I think there is a way to help folks navigate the realities of the job market and to encourage folks to articulate their passions, competencies, and truths, without having to lie about who they are and how they show up in the world. So here I am, ready to serve!

What do I want people to know about my practice

I have been successful at securing new jobs (I have been interviewed by 40 organizations and have been offered 15 jobs, and have accepted 8 positions throughout my decade-long career, thus far). While I am very competent at writing resumes/cover letters and interviewing, I think what I bring to the table as a job coach is a deep thoughtfulness, curiosity, and ability to organize thoughts and feelings into long-range goals and actions.

I am a strong believer that intensive introspection and the building of self-awareness should be an integral part of the career coaching world. Without understanding why we do what we do, why we feel what we feel, how we orient around change and growth, why our confidence is so low, why destructive emotions are triggered by certain behaviors, what our relationship is to power, we can quickly and easily get in our own way when trying to identify and then reach our own goals.

I’m also particularly attuned to the ways in which white supremacy and patriarchy are operationalized in organizational settings, and can help clients identify multiple strategies in dealing with interpersonal, cultural, and institutional inequity.

What are the goals of the community?

Ultimately, my hope in working with clients is to help them to be their most fully realized, authentic, messy, human, and whole self when pursuing professional and personal goals.

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