When I was 25 years old, I thought I knew it all. I didn’t need career advice from an older version of myself. I was a smart hard working woman who was climbing my way up the corporate ladder. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Now when I look back over my career, there are 8 pieces of career advice I wish I had listened to.
Career Advice One: A career isn’t a race, it is a journey
I was impatient and wanted to be a Senior Manager with a six-figure salary NOW! Having ambition is fine, however, by solely focussing on future desires, I forgot to enjoy where I was. I raced through my 20’s without taking the time to notice the scenery and enjoy the journey.
Career Advice Two – Don’t use sexuality to advance your career
Yes – I did this! It wasn’t intentional but I used my looks and sexuality to progress my career. I flirted and flattered my way into a promotion. The feeling of success was short lived. I was ostracized by my colleagues. They couldn’t see my talent – only my looks. It wasn’t long until I walked away from that job to start again.
Career Advice Three – It is O.K to show emotion at work
I believed I had to be tough to be respected at work. This meant barring all emotions and soldiering on. By doing this, I created enormous stress and anxiety. I bottled up my feelings and emotions to the detriment of my mental health. I now know that showing emotion at work will not hinder career progress. We are all human and sometimes need a shoulder to cry on.
Career Advice Four – Don’t judge working mom’s as lacking commitment
It is tough being a working mom. In my 20’s I judged these colleagues as lacking commitment. They were usually the last to arrive at work and the first to leave. They took time off for sports carnivals or school award presentations and regularly worked from home to look after sick children.
In my mid-30’s I became a working Mother and the enormity of juggling a career and family was overwhelming. I felt guilt every day. Guilty for not being at home with my daughter and guilty for not being able to give my job the commitment I previously could. I was tired from night feeds, day-care drop off’s, sick babies, day-care pick up’s, busy work days, and working at home each night to try and catch up. Oh, and don’t forget all the tasks that come with running a household with kids.
Give these ladies a break. They are dealing with a lot. One day you may be returning to work as a mom and will need the support and understanding of your Manager and colleagues.
Career Advice Five – A career isn’t a competition
Being a career driven woman, I saw everyone as competition – especially other women. I now know that by developing and nurturing genuine relationships, you build a support network that will advocate for you and advance your career.
Don’t be intimidated by other strong women. Reach out and become friends. The world is a small place and these connections will become useful later on.
Career Advice Six – Avoid office gossip and negative people
Positive, happy, and helpful people are easier to promote. If there are two people with similar skills who want a promotion, it will not be given to the employee who gossips and frequently complains. Be happy and associate with happy people at work.
Career Advice Seven – Don’t take on a job beyond your capabilities
With a strong focus on breaking the glass ceiling and reducing pay gaps between men and women, many companies have programs to fast track talented women to leadership positions. If you are given an opportunity such as this, congratulations! Just be careful. If you take on a job beyond your capabilities, and without a strong support network, it could affect your career and self-esteem.
Career Advice Eight – You will eventually fail
To become a leader, you need to take risks. With risk comes failure and the opportunity to learn. Don’t let failure de-rail you. It is the best way to accelerate your knowledge and experiences. Pick up and dust off your bruised ego, identify the learning opportunity and move forward.
From an older career woman to a young career woman, I share this advice and wish you a happy and successful career.
This blog post was contributed by that talented Kate J Parker. She is a writer, dreamer, and re-formed over achiever. She empowers women to dream big, achieve greatness, and balance life. You can find her at www.VivaLaMe.com.
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