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Work Advice I Live By

I just read this post and the comment and felt prompted  to respond with some of my own career advice.

woman in red dress using laptop on table

Photo by Ree on Pexels.com

  1. Think of your career as a jungle gym not a ladder and it’s OK to change your mind about your career path, your objective, it’s OK.
  2. Fake it till you make, most of us are.
  3. Find that thing that distinguishes you from everyone else on the team and perfect that.
  4. Show respect to everyone from the most junior to the most senior and do not compromise your personal beliefs for anyone.
  5. Demand respect from all the people you work with and it will follow.
  6. Identify the person at your level that the management loves and replicate what you can of this winning formula. Caution here though, you might not get the same feelings they do but it could help with your overall feedback and perception.
  7. Work is work, give it your best but don’t kill yourself for it. Unless you are self-employed, we are all replaceable.
  8. Listen to feedback and then decide what works best for you and work on improving that.
  9. Trust your instinct when it is time to move on.
  10. Go into each job with a specific goal or lesson that you would like to learn and then compare this with your specific career objectives or goals.
  11. Be the kind of senior that you wish you had at each stage of your career. Ths has meant extra work for me at times but is personally aligned to my core beliefs and so it’s also been a source of great joy.

Whatever you work at, work as unto the glory of God

What professional advice do you live by?

 

Sunday Posts

There’s a crescendo of voices saying, ‘If you don’t do X or Y, you’re doing it wrong,’” Monk says. The result is “a kind of over-preciousness about motherhood. It’s obsessive, and it’s amplified by the Internet and social media.” 

Did my parents know the answers to all of life’s lessons at my age?

Adulting never gets any easier the longer you keep at it. I recently got thinking on three things in my life where I certainly needed my parents to come through and tell me what to do or how to do it.

  1. Finishing high school and having to decide what career I wanted to pursue thereafter. Then having to visit the different Universities and make my application and everything else. Coming on the back of completing high school and being told everything I needed to do, this freedom was quite sudden and frankly overwhelming. However, I oddly always knew what I wanted to do and so all I had to work on was finding a school to study Economics.
  2. Dealing with my first job. So many different things. One,  I put in an application for a Work permit and this took over seven months to finalise and eventually I had to decide whether to stop working while I await my permit or go back home and either look for a job or start the application all over again to come back and coninue with my old job. Two, dealing with a difficult boss and having to decipher honest feedback against being bullied. The hardest lesson ever that I had to go through. Three, deciding to quit and wishing I could ask my folks to take care of me again.
  3. Moving house across cities. Urgggh!! I thought of my mom for months in the build up to it and for weeks after and secretly begged that she would offer to come help me.

And this is only up until now. I cannot imagine having a first baby, bringing up kids, losing loved ones, sickness, marriage stuff. Oh dear me, please can I just go back to being twelve!

Career thoughts of some 20-somethings

Two weeks ago, I finally got the opportunity to read the November Destiny magazine. This is typically the birthday issue when they introduce various readers to selected mentors. Ah, what am I saying, just look at the cover below.

Herein also is the supplement, “The Power of 40”, looking at top achieving women across the different fields who are under 40 years old. This prompted me to ask myself and indeed a few others the question below.

Do you know what you want out of your career? What are your goals in the short, midi and long term? Should you have these and/or is it ok if you don’t?

Response 1
I don’t really know what I want right now so I’m just giving myself time to find myself again.
 Response 2
We grow (up) knowing that we can do anything. ANYTHING and we want to do it all. But can’t seem to decide or settle for something so we end up feeling very unfulfilled.
 Response 3
Probably enjoyment actually career progression, being able to live comfortably earning respect and a name for myself.

I read about all these women and I felt underachieved. I am 28 year old, 29 in a few weeks and it forced me to look at my career and wonder, what am I doing? Is there a plan and what is that plan?

But that was the first reaction, I did step away and realise that in the medium term, it’s important that I learn as much as I can, experience different organisation cultures, push myself out of my comfort zone and get involved in different sectors and types of work. That this is the phase to learn and so what if it takes me longer, I will get there and will have learnt a lot more about my strengths and weaknesses and what I like and don’t like to do. And that I am sure will serve me in good stead later.

I also think it’s OK to work with a long-term definite plan and wing it in the meantime. It is OK to be flexible and meander along, provided it brings you to the long-term equilibrium (suddenly had a vision of my Honours and Masters Macro lecturer).

What do you think and how do you plan your career?

Aside:  Following this post, I decided to cancel my True Love subscription and rather pay for Destiny. Good choice!!!

7: Considering a career change?

If money was no issue and I could chose other careers to switch to, I would do any of the following:

  1. Librarian or a bookshop seller/owner. Running the bookshop, I would read some of the books at the desk in between servicing clients and dealing with other bits of running the shop. If I was the librarian, I would get first dibs on all the books as they came in from the different people. I clearly love reading and this would be a cheap option for me to meet that need in my life.
  2. Food critic. What’s not to like about getting the chance to go to different restaurants and order various items from the menu and write about them? Well maybe if I had to also take pics and stuff. I think its proper #firstworldproblems to get food and then have to sit around while others take pictures of it in different poses.
  3. Developing the musical score for films and series. This is weird, I really love my music but I don’t really like movies much. Yet when I do watch a good movie, part of what makes it is the soundtrack – it has to be totally complimentary and awesome. I love Grey’s Anatomy and really what also makes the show are the songs they play at key points of the plot.
  4. For someone that doesn’t like to draw much, I would be a cartoon illustrator for little kiddy’s books. So cute and I imagine so fulfilling too!
  5. Radio producer and part of the team that develops the content for the different radio shows. I love talk radio and it never ceases to amaze me how they generate some of their stories and the fact that despite how bizarre the topic, people are guaranteed to always call in and contribute to the topic. I also know how radio is quite a powerful medium and so I would like to somehow be involved in shaping people’s minds and conversations for positive rather than negative.
  6. Fashion design. I certainly have an eye for what can/can’t look good on someone.

And what about you?

Book Review: Lean In

I had the pleasure of reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In, and these are some key points she made that struck a chord with me.

Mentoring

Mentors select protégés based on performance and potential – excel and you will get a mentor.

Feedback

Asking for input is not a sign of weakness but often the first step to finding a path forward.

  • Feedback is an opinion,  grounded in observations and experiences,  which allows us to know what impressions we make on others. Feedback, like truth, is not absolute.
  • When arguments turn into “she said/she said,” we all lose.

Career progression

Ladders are limiting … jungle gyms offer a more creative exploration.

  • I recommend adopting two concurrent goals: a long-term dream and an eighteen month plan.
  • Only one criterion matters when picking a job – fast growth.
  • In the medium-term what skill will I endeavour to learn?  Trying to over correct is a great way to find middle ground.

Women & Work

I truly believe that the single most important career decision that a Woman makes is whether she will have a life partner and who that partner is.

  • When I don’t feel confident one tactic I’ve learned is that it sometimes helps to fake it. 
  • Owning one’s success is key to achieving more success.
  • One reason women avoid stretch assignments and new challenges is that they worry too much about whether they currently have the skills they need for a new role. This can become a self-fulfilling prophecy since so many abilities are acquired on the job.
  • The months and years leading up to having children are not the time to lean back, but the critical time to lean in.
  • Anyone who wants her mate to be a true partner must treat him as an equal – and equally capable- partner.
  • If there is a new normal for the workplace, there is a new normal for the home too.
    Every job will demand some sacrifice.  The key is to avoid unnecessary sacrifice.
  • Equal opportunity is not equal unless everyone receives the encouragement that makes seizing those opportunities possible.
  • Gender should neither magnify nor excuse rude and dismissive treatment.  We should expect professional behaviour, even kindness,from everyone. We must work harder to rise above this. The gender wars need an immediate and lasting peace. True equality will only be achieved when we all fight the stereotypes that hold us back.

All in all, this was an awesome book to read and I read it at the read it at the right time in my career. At a time when I am changing jobs, looking to be more assertive at work and take some risks as well, looking at the horizon and deciding on whether I could maybe like to settle down and what that might look like. This book is a definite must-read. I will leave you with the sad quote below:

It is a painful truth that one of the obstacles to more women gaining power has sometimes been  women already in power.