BEST CAREER ADVICE I'VE RECEIVED
Hey guys! Happy hump day! I was recently having a discussion with my fiancé about the best career advice we’ve ever received. It made me realize how much I’ve grown professionally and it made me appreciative of all the people who have helped shape me. After working nearly 10 years, I know how naive I was when I entered the workforce. I decided to share the best advice with you all in hopes that it helps you in your career!
(1) Never say, “sorry” in an email: During my very first job, I became great friends with another attorney who sat across from me. We were both new to Corporate America and would often bounce ideas off of each other. One time she mentioned that her mom often told her to never say, “sorry” in an email. I honestly didn’t really think much of it at the time. However, I began to realize how overly apologetic and nice I tried to come across in emails. Even if I was not at fault, I would apologize. Looking back, I realize that I was trying hard not to be intimidating or too cold in emails. Meanwhile, my male counterparts didn’t have these concerns. Now, I communicate completely differently. Today I will never say, “sorry” or “my apologies” in an email. Instead of apologizing, I thank the other party for catching a mistake or bringing an error to my attention. Not only have I dropped the “sorry” but I have also stopped using unnecessary niceties and passive language in my emails. I am much more assertive in my communications and I have personally noticed a difference when doing so. I am still warm, yet I am firm and get my point across. For example, early in my career, I used to qualify some emails with “If that makes sense?” I think it was a way for me to apologize for an overly complicated email or having a suggestion about a process change. Deep down, I knew it made sense (lol) but I didn’t want to be “too much”. I would never say that now. Instead, I will prompt the other party to set up a call to discuss if they have any questions. Go through your emails and see if there are ways you can communicate with more confidence!
(2) Always have multiple streams of income: My dad instilled this in me at a young age (we’re talking five years old, lol). My dad was an entrepreneur and knew the importance of not relying on one stream of income. He always let me know that just because I was in Corporate America, didn’t mean that I had security. We tend to believe that working for a company is more secure than self-employment. Companies lay off, restructure, etc. He taught me that the more income streams you have, the more freedom you have. You never want to have to stick with a job or a business that makes you miserable because you have to wait for another job to hire you. I never want to be held hostage at a job I hate. Before I started making money from my blog and side ventures, I found myself weighing salary more when looking for a position. Having the freedom to take a lower paying job that makes me happier is priceless!
(3) Document EVERYTHING (good and bad): My first manager at my very first job taught me so much. She is still my favorite manager of all time. One thing she always had me do is forward her any emails praising my work. She told me that I should also save them on my computer because they would come in handy during review time. During your review, you need to be able to share your success and back them up! I go more in depth about preparing for your reviews here. On the flip side, you also need to document any issues you are having at work. You want to document how you resolve any mistakes you’ve made. Further, you want to document any issues that could be evidence of harassment, discrimination, etc. It may seem excessive to document one or two incidents but when one or two one-off incidences becomes fifteen, you will be glad that you documented these issues. You never know when you may have to make a complaint to HR (also document these!) or file an EEOC complaint. Always CYA (aka “Cover Your Ass”).
(4) Overdress: You know the saying, “Dress for the job you want?” I am a firm believer that you should overdress for work. It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed. I’m scheduled to go to a conference next week and we were informed that the dress code is casual and jeans are encouraged. As someone who works at home, the last thing I want to do is leave the house or dress up in work wear. However, this is the first time and perhaps only time I will see these people. I want to make a great impression and look put together. I won’t necessarily go in a full suit, but I am also not wearing my favorite distressed Levi’s. I may go in my favorite asos work pants (pictured above). They have fun colors, are comfy and are still professional.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?