All posts by Jennifer Johnston

Emotional intelligence in the workplace

Top 5 Reasons Why Emotional Intelligence is Important in the Workplace

According to the Oxford Dictionary, emotional intelligence (EI) is, “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.” Whether in your personal or work life, emotional intelligence is crucial to keeping a healthy relationship with others, and with yourself.

So what are some of the ways EI can benefit you in the workplace? Here are the top 5:

  • Help you stay calm in times of stress

We all know that emotional regulation is critical in maintaining a professional work presence. To control your own emotions can be crucial to getting a project or task done without having a mental breakdown. The best way to remain calm is to practice breathing and mindfulness exercises, exercise regularly, and get plenty of rest. For a list of mindfulness activities you can try, visit:   Mindfulness Exercises

  • Resolving conflicts

Typically, employers will have a mediator or policy that is meant to deescalate conflict. When that deems as ineffective, it is important to improve your social skills, specifically your communication skills to reduce the tension. Speaking with the person(s) directly, face-to-face, and understanding non-verbal communication.

  • Having a better take on constructive criticism

Workplaces all over the world thrive on effective feedback! What so many people call “feedback” or “areas of growth” we know is more or less constructive criticism. To be able to take constructive criticism effectively, listening intently, understanding how to correct the behavior or action, and paying attention to how you react vs. respond in the moment are nsteps to consider. A reaction may come from an emotion in the moment whereas a response will occur after the recognition of that emotion. All constructive criticism plays an important value in workplace, but you must keep in mind that it is not a reflection of you as a person.

  • Making Better Decisions

They say haste makes waste, and a lot of times when having to act, time can be of the essence in the workplace. Whether your decision has a time constraint or not, it is possible to act in a manner where you can make a decision that has meaning and purpose behind it. With that being said, it is just as important to admit when you made a mistake or speak on a disfavored decision.  Explaining the reasoning behind your actions will provide clarity in the workplace.

  • Keeping you motivated

In staying motivated, there are a few things to keep in mind. A positive attitude can go a long way. It may even rub off on your coworkers! Remembering what you love about your job and why you do it, whether it is number crunching or working directly with people will ignite a spark of excitement.  Finally, if you can, avoid work drama at all costs. If unavoidable, using empathic listening and validating someone’s feelings will help defuse a tense situation.

Emotional Intelligence is essential to a successful and rewarding career. According to Talent Smart, not only are “90% of top performers are also high in emotional intelligence,” “people with a high degree of emotional intelligence make more money—an average of $29,000 more per year than people with a low degree of emotional intelligence.” Since EI can be developed, the possibilities are endless in how you can grow professionally and interpersonally.

For Additional Resources, visit:

Very Well Mind

Talent Smart

Hire SPC Titans, powered by Handshake

Hire SPC Titans, Powered by Handshake

Career Services is excited to announce that Handshake is now Hire SPC Titans powered by Handshake. You heard it right. Same great platform with the same features. And still the #1 way college students find jobs, but with an SPC Titan stamp! 

What exactly is Hire SPC Titans powered by Handshake? 

Handshake is a way for students to connect with employers to find careers and internships. Created by former students who saw the need to level the playing field, their mission is to provide equal employment opportunities for all students. 

Not only are students who have complete profiles five times more likely to be messaged by a recruiter, but activating your profile is completely free. It is used by colleges and universities all over the county.

Create your account and complete your profile!

There are a few simple steps you can take to get started. To create an account, visit Next, update your resume and upload it so employers can view it at any point. If you are in need of assistance in updating your resume, upload your resume to Optimal Resume for an SPC Career Services professional to review or Contact Career Services on your home campus to set up an appointment. 

To complete your profile, you want to make sure you review and edit the pre-loaded information from your resume and insert it into the appropriate sections. Uploading a profile picture is optional, and you may do so if you choose. Just remember, 80 percent of students who fill out the job type, location, and job role sections get messaged by a recruiter. Make sure you don’t miss them!

Once your profile is complete, you can explore various resources available to you such as: Jobs, Employers, Community, Career Paths, Events, and Career Center. This will be your one-stop-shop to start the job search and gather useful information from employers. Last, but certainly not least, the last step is to apply! Jobs and internships are available in your local area, around the state, and even nationwide. 

As you can see, Hire SPC Titans powered by Handshake is such a versatile tool that can be used in a plethora of ways. So what are you waiting for? Get started today! 

You’ve been laid off, now what?

A chart showing the unemployment rate.

Tips to help you get through being laid off at your company and knowing your benefits.

Before Coronavirus, approximately 1.7 million workers were being laid off per month. Experts say that number will double or triple in the coming months. The Wall Street Journal estimates “14.4 million jobs will be lost in the coming months, and the unemployment rate will rise to a record 13% in June, from a 50-year low of 3.5% in February.” The COVID-19 outbreak has left so many people feeling scared, worried, and unsure how they are going to pay their bills.

Like so many others, if you have been laid off, here are some next steps you can take to ensure that you are staying productive and goal-oriented in 2020.

Obtain a Layoff Letter

This will create a paper trail for you to use when you are job searching. Have your employer be specific in wording the circumstances surrounding your unemployment and include a recommendation for future employers.

Figure Out What Your Benefits Are

Health insurance, your final paycheck, or even severance pay may be negotiable in your layoff. You also want to check-in to review your retirement or investment plan. A balance of $5,000 or more should be kept with the company, although you can cash out for funding if it is crucial. Lastly, eligibility for reemployment is a benefit if employers are anticipating rehiring staff.

File for Unemployment

Applying as soon as possible is key, due to the high number of applicants. The typical time for financial assistance is 26 weeks. You’ll want to visit the federal government’s websites to find out if you qualify for unemployment and health insurance due to unemployment.

Update your LinkedIn Profile and Your Résumé

This is a good way to begin your job search, even if you plan to reapply to your former employer. Chances are, you will have more options for employment as time goes by. It may feel like you need to replace your old job immediately, but if you can afford to do so, it is best to find the right job, not the first job.

Virtual Networking

There are virtual networking events, job fairs, and social media outlets that are available. Eventbrite and Meetup are great resources for weekly business and professional events.

Handshake is another great resource for current and past students, as well as employers. Handshake is a website SPC students can connect with employers, upload a full profile, and see current job postings. To get started, create a Handshake account.

Additional Resources/ Useful Articles:            

SPC alumni talk shop about starting a business

People shopping in World Thrift Store.

Creating a business from the ground up isn’t a simple feat, but Alessandro Cocozza and Nicholas Fanning have managed to do just that. Owners of World Thrift and St. Petersburg College alumni, Cocozza and Fanning have both worked incredibly hard to provide a unique thrifting experience for their customers.

Founded in 2017, World Thrift was an idea originating from Cocozza’s own backroom in his home. Alessandro would buy clothes and post his merchandise on the social media app Snapchat, where a small network turned into a fan club, eventually becoming a business. Aside from thrifting, Cocozza designs and creates custom pieces for clients using thrifted materials.

From this point, World Thrift began hosting and putting on their own events. Fashion shows, markets, and photo shoots were just some examples of how they marketed their brand. As the years went by, they wanted to become more established in the area, as opposed to only having an online and pop-up presence. In September 2019, World Thrift opened its very own storefront on Seminole Boulevard in St. Petersburg. Since then, its customer base has become steadier and they are open five days a week, from Thursday to Monday.

To stay in touch with the latest thrift trends, Nick and Alessandro travel all over the country, visiting thrift shops and getting inspiration for themselves.

When asking Cocozza why he has such a passion for his business his answer was easy. Growing up, he never was able to have a unique sense of style because he wore clothes that were passed down from his older brother. Since starting World Thrift, his personal closet has grown, many of the items in it priceless to him.

But Cocozza and Fanning will tell you, the obstacles of owning a business can be taxing. To keep their business thriving, knowing that they have a specific demographic makes social media and their online presence more important than ever. Their typical shopper ranges from about 14-23, but they get some walk-ins that see their shop or clothes while passing by the main road.

Fanning and Cocozza love that they can provide their shoppers with a unique thrifting experience. Bringing the world of thrift to Tampa Bay, their name is quite fitting for the occasion.

To learn more about World Thrift, visit

Job postings in the Tampa Bay area

A woman working on a laptop.

When it comes to current job postings, we encourage all students to follow guidance from the local, state, and federal government, including the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Stay safe and have a great semester, Titans!

While many businesses may be shutting down and cutting positions, many employers have begun to hire amid the increased need in grocery stores, delivery services, and other related fields.

Please see below for the full list of businesses and online links:

As always, the career services team is here to assist you with any career-related needs. From résumé help to job postings and even mock interviews, we are here! To find someone at your home campus, please visit the SPC Career Services webpage.

Employ Florida Jobs Available
(Online and Virtual Hiring)

You can register by going to and clicking on “Not Registered? Learn How and Why” to begin the registration process. Once registered:

  • Click on Find a Job
  • Search for the featured jobs by their assigned job order #
  • Click “How to Apply” and follow the step-by-step instructions

The following Employers are looking to fill these positions:

Bayonet Plumbing, Cooling, and Heating

  • 11162680 – Warehouse Labor
  • 11162670 – HVAC Technician
  • 11162659 – Truck Driver
  • 11162686 – Plumbers, New Construction
  • 11162693 – Plumbing Supervisor with Underground Experience

FL Dept of Children and Families

  • 11006594 – Economic Self Sufficiency Specialist I

JMI Resource

  • 11149659 – Materials Sourcer
  • 11148561 – Bilingual Customer Service Representative

People Ready

  • 11113038 – Banquet Server
  • 11113022 – Housekeeper
  • 11113051 – Bussers
  • 11113053 – Dishwasher
  • 11113055 – Cook

Palm Garden of Pinellas

  • 11156495 – Certified Nursing Assistant (C.N.A.)
  • 11156484 – Dietary Aide
  • 11156517 – Housekeeping Assistant
  • 11156497 – Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

Pinellas County Schools

  • 11162649 – Appliance Refrigeration Technician – Journeyman
  • 11162636 – Bus Driver and Substitute

Lockheed Martin/Search Pros Solution

  • 11151990 – Assembler Level 2
  • 11151978 – Inspector


  • 11159045 – Residential Supervisor (Boley)
  • 11138383 – Behavioral Health Technician (Boley)
  • 11133732 – Access Center Counselor (PAR)
  • 11167547 – Case Manager (PAR)

Childcare Careers

  • 11006644 – Early Childhood Teacher/Teacher Assistant

Goodwill of the Suncoast

  • 11162610 – ECommerce Collectibles Manager
  • 11149665 – Assemblers
  • 11166908 – Accounts Clerk


  • 11162824 – Chemical Mixer
  • 11162825 – Window Film Marketing Manager
  • 11162829 – Electro/Mechanical Maintenance Technician
  • 11162835 – Coating Line Receiving Clerk

RMF Homecare

  • 11167592 – C.N.A./H.H.A.

Westminster Palms

  • 11081741 – C.N.A.

YMCA of the Suncoast

  • 11162275 – Assistant Youth Development Specialist
  • 11162283 – Youth Development Specialist
  • 11162289 – Assistant Youth Development Director


  • 11134681 – Framer Hanger
  • 11134693 – Laborer

Stepping Stones

  • 11158126 – Personal Support Caregivers

Frontline Communications

  • 11152675 – CNC Press Brake Operator
  • 11150114 – Painter

TSE Industries

  • 11167022 – Buyer Medical Device Facility
  • 11167029 – Clean Room Operator (1st shift)
  • 11167032 – Clean Room Production Supervisor Medical Device Facility (1st shift)
  • 11167024 – Industrial Maintenance Technicians (1st and 2nd shifts)
  • 11167014 – Manual Machinist (1st shift)
  • 11167019 – Outside Sales Manager (1st shift)
  • 11125346 – Chemical Operators (2nd shift, training on 1st shift, work every other weekend)
  • 11084642 – Social Media Coordinator
  • 11023208 – Industrial Maintenance Mechanics
  • 11015769 – Chemical Operators (2nd shift 7pm to 7:30am)
  • 11015759 – Plastic Press Operators (2nd shift 3pm to 3:30am)

Vanguard Protex Global

  • 11147303 – Electrical Technician
  • 11159702 – Purchasing Coordinator

Whatever Floats Your Boat: Entrepreneurs of Pinellas

Three people sit on jet skis in the middle of Tampa Bay.

From Student to Successful Business Owner

For many college students, the desire to be an entrepreneur and create your own business is becoming increasingly popular. From restaurants to shops to nonprofits, individuals can channel their education and experience into a meaningful passion, fulfilling their life goals.

Dante Clarke, 25, co-owner of Bada Bing Water Sports, is a St. Petersburg native and Titan alumni. Growing up to love the water, he worked for years at various hotels and companies renting out water sports equipment while obtaining his Captain’s license. Dante stated that he had three good managers that molded him, pushed him to work harder, and kept him accountable. Now an operations manager, Dante is able to understand how their sternness made him into the businessman he is today.

Getting Started

A small yacht sits in a harbor on a sunny day.
One of the yachts in the Bada Bing Water Sports fleet.

A venture like Dante’s requires capital, resources, time, and expertise. While he was working and attending St. Petersburg College, he put money away in order to start his own company.

What really made the difference in his endeavor was the networking relationship he made with a longtime role model, Doug Byrd, and his wife Sue. The Byrds have owned various businesses over the years, and Dante approached Doug with his ideas for a water sports business. Doug knew that Dante had a great idea and the experience in the industry, so when five slips and three boats by the same owner at the St. Petersburg marina went up for sale, Doug and Dante took a leap of faith and Bada Bing Water Sports became a reality.

Having What it Takes

For Dante, working anywhere from 60 to 100 hours a week is typical. But he loves what he does, so it doesn’t really feel like a job. He gets up at 7:30 am and typically works until sunset, which makes for long summers. Some of the challenges he faces include day-to-day operations, staffing, and creating his own schedule.

What gave him the push to take this risk? Along with his partner wanting to move forward, Dante met with an SPC advisor in 2016 who encouraged him to pursue his passions, and he has never looked back since.

To learn more about Bada Bing Water Sports, be sure to visit their website at

Why you should have a five-year plan

A journal reading "goal, plan, action" next to a clock.

How it helps with career development

When thinking about a five-year plan, the thought of what you are doing in 2025 can be terrifying! Maybe you’ve just started college and you have no idea what you are going to major in. Or perhaps you are about to graduate, and the stress of finding a job is eating away at you.

The reality is that goal-setting is proven to make you more successful. A Harvard business study found that “the 14% of people who have goals are ten times more successful than those without goals”.

A five-year plan has to be strategic and well thought out. Here are some ways you can help develop your plan:

  • Imagine your life five years from now and write everything down. Create an unfiltered list. You might be surprised by what comes to mind. This will help start the plan as well.
  • Ignore all the voices and reasons in your head telling you no. These will not only bog you down but are detrimental to your mental health and reaching your goals.
  • You can have more than one small goal, but your five-year plan should only have one main goal. For example, getting a Ph.D. degree.
  • Take action! There is no way to make your plan happen if you don’t implement it. This might mean having a monthly to-do list, or even a daily one. It might mean sacrificing social time, fun activities, or vacations. But later, it could mean more time to do those things, and more opportunities to enjoy life.

A five-year plan should include your career, but it should not leave out your personal life. If you want to buy a house, get a pet, have a baby, or travel, you should be realistic about those goals and how they fit into your career. You never want to take on too much at once, so be aware of where you are allocating time. There are only so many hours in the day, and you never want your physical health to suffer.

Taking all of these things into consideration, a rule to live by is using SMART goals. SMART goals stand for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Keeping all these components in mind will allow you to create the best five-year plan possible.

Last, but not least, remember, the plan can always change but the end goal should stay the same.

Titan Student Success Story

Two business people shaking hands.

From SPC Student to Career Professional

Hello, my name is Jennifer Johnston and I am currently the student support specialist at the St. Petersburg College Seminole campus.

Jennifer Johnston M.Ed. Ed.S., Student Support Specialist at St. Petersburg College Seminole Campus

I thought it would be an important piece to share my “student success story,” most importantly, one that started here at St. Petersburg College. In fall 2011, I began my degree as an early admissions student. I graduated from Seminole High School in 2012 while I simultaneously completed my first year of college. As a Presidential Scholar, I finished my Associate’s degree at the Seminole campus at no cost to me.

Thereafter, I transferred to the University of South Florida and graduated in 2016 with a B.S. degree in Secondary Social Science Education. Working with students, I soon came to realize that I enjoyed helping my students navigate through decision-making more than I liked teaching them civics and economics, so I continued my education at the University of Florida.

Flashing forward to May 2019, I received a Master’s degree in Education as well as an Education Specialist degree in Mental Health and School Counseling. In addition to my counseling program’s coursework, I was able to teach human growth and development to undergraduate students, enriching my life as well as the 250 students I taught from 2017 to 2019.

So I bet you’re wondering, why did I keep going? How did I figure out what I wanted to do? Quite frankly, there were nights studying, working, and lesson planning when I wondered myself. But I promise you, every single sleepless night was worth it.

At SPC, I had faculty and advisors that believed in me and inspired me daily to channel my strengths, and more importantly, to persevere. I not only get to do what I love, but I also get to learn along with staff and students who have the same drive and passion as me.

As I look back on where my journey began, I am astonished at how far I have come, and all of the people who had faith in me to live out my goals and dreams.

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference”   – Robert Frost (1916)

How to be as productive as possible in 2020

Graphic showing a man in a business suit running up a line graph.

We live in a world where convenience is instant, practically everything can be done with the use of a computer, and efficiency in the workplace has peaked. Yet, we still seem to hit roadblocks throughout the workday that slow and even halt our progress. Here are some tips to help you be more productive in 2020, not just in our careers, but in our studies and our personal lives.

Be in the moment

I hear this time and time again from friends, family, and even coworkers. A distracted person is not someone we want to spend time with. Taking a few minutes to focus on the conversation, experience, or meeting. It will also allow you to fully remember something.

Ask for help when you need it

No one expects you to be an expert on everything. Reaching out to others shows that you want to learn more, you aren’t afraid to advocate for yourself, and your pride doesn’t get in the way of your work. It will allow others to know they can come to you when they need help, too.

Say what you mean

Communication is one of the easiest things to do, yet, with the use of technology, it can be increasingly difficult. With virtual forms of communication, it is impossible to read sarcasm or tone. If you feel the lines of communication are strained, make it a priority to have a phone call or in-person conversation.

Strive for excellence

Why would you want to be anything but great? Even if you don’t hit all of your goals, having a to-do list and staying on top of your daily tasks will keep you in a good workflow. As an added bonus, you will be a good influence and role model to others around you!

Five work habits to ditch immediately

Man in denim shirt clutching his head and looking frustrated.

Having a job is hard enough as it is, so why make it any harder? Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your job by kicking those bad habits to the curb!

Being uncooperative

It may be easy to just sit back and relax, but at the end of the day, the job needs to be done. It won’t be long before your hard work gets noticed, so keep up the good work!

Having a messy work environment

You might be able to thrive in chaos, but workplaces thrive in an organized environment. Having a tidy desk is a professional must.


Chances are if you do complain, it will get back to management and spread like wildfire around the workplace. Instead, try writing down your complaints to vent or have a constructive conversation with your employer about things that you want to help improve.

Working when you’re sick

Do NOT share the love! Your coworkers do not want to catch your illness; calling out sick is your best bet. You will recover faster by staying at home and recuperating, and in the long- term, be more productive than if you had gone in.

Skipping meals and breaks

People are proven to work more effectively if they take their breaks, so do your part! Be sure to take self-care into consideration, especially on a long shift; go for a walk, grab a snack, or even a take short nap if you are able to.