Pull up a chair because today I’m sharing the very BEST career advice I’ve ever received!
Hello there, dreamers! Today’s post is all about career talk. More specifically? The best career advice I’ve received through the years.
Of course, I should start off by saying I am by NO means an expert. In fact, this post came to mind while I was having a very existential moment thinking about my own career path and where I want to be in ten years. As I continue to try and work that out, I thought a good place to start would be reflecting what I DO know already.
And as I feel like I still have a lot to figure out, I do have to say I’ve come along way from where I started.
I remember just how frickin’ clueless I was and hopeless I felt after graduating college. The job market was slim and I vividly remember sat in a Starbucks applying for job after job feeling equally afraid that I would a) never get a job or b) land a job that I hated.
At that time, I was applying for literally anything I thought would stick. I was so incredibly naive and unsure of myself, that I somehow even found my way into booking an out-of-town stay for a commissioned-base sales job that sounded like an absolute nightmare. I remember sitting there being interviewed by a woman in a seriously bad excuse for a suit with tangled hair and missing front teeth.
After the interview I checked out of my hotel and was on my way home when she called. Not at all interested in picking up the phone, I let it go to voicemail where I later learned she was making a job offer. Right then and there I followed my gut for the first time and called her back thanking her for the offer and kindly taking the time to meet with me – but I ultimately felt the job wasn’t a great fit.
And I guess that’s where I can start this post as it is definitely one of the best career advice golden rules out there:
1. Know When to Follow Your Gut
I won’t belittle this point too much, because it’s kind of an obvious one. (As I’m sure you agree.)
But as obvious as it may be, it bears repeating because of just how important it really is. Inside all of us lies something very special: our intuition. While there’s no easy way of defining exactly where it comes from, there’s no denying that your intuition is actually there. Trust is. As mysterious as it may be, your gut feelings and intuitions are there to guide you for a reason.
If something doesn’t feel right to you, odds are it’s not right. So when you get that feeling, know to recognize it and move accordingly.
2. You Must Advocate for Yourself
In general, self-advocacy is vitally important in just about all walks of life – but particularly in the workforce. One of the best career advice tips I’ve received and learned on my own? If you wait for someone to advocate for you…you’re going to be waiting a REALLY long time.
That’s definitely not to say you won’t find great people at work who will be there to support you along the way. There absolutely are! But truthfully? Your boss, your coworkers, human resources and the list goes on all have a lot on their plates. Even with the best intentions, things and team members can go overlooked. With that in mind, it’s important to learn how to speak up rather than sitting and waiting around.
If you have a problem, address it. If you have a question, ask it.
Whether you’re looking for a promotion, a raise, clarification, the opportunity to work on a project or otherwise – be your own cheerleader and advocate for yourself. I promise, it’s going to be much faster than waiting for someone to do so for you.
3. Learn to Accept Rejection and Negative Feedback
Right alongside learning the importance of advocating for myself, I’ve also learned how necessary it is to be able to accept rejection. Some of the times you speak up, it’s not going to go your way and that’s okay.
As an example, lemme share a little bit about how I approached attending New York Fashion Week for the first time. My interest in writing about designer fashion and I really really wanted to attend these events in person. As I’d learn the importance of advocating for myself, I started researching and reaching out to contacts at both fashion brands and the public relations agencies that represent them. I’d put together a well-crafted pitch email about who I was, what I was looking for and attach my media kit. Then, I’d sit back keeping my fingers crossed for a positive response.
Yes, positive responses came but along with them? There were also a lot of nos. With each no I received, you’d think I’d find myself getting discouraged but it actually had the opposite effect. What happened was I developed a thick skin and learned to brush off any negative feedback or rejection. Among the nos there were also yeses – and I had myself a frickin’ BALL of a time
From there, this lesson has permeated into all areas of my work life and I’ve become a real PRO at accepting rejection and negative feedback.
If the worst anyone can say is no or you suck? I’m honestly fine with that. Take it in stride, keep working on you and move on.
(It’s worth saying, no one actually has ever told me I suck. Usually rejection comes much more nicely than that but you get the point. If someone actually tells you you suck, they’re a sucky a person and you don’t want them in your life. xo)
4. Negative Feedback Is Fuel For Success
To piggy back off everything I’ve learned about negative feedback, some of the best career advice I’ve ever received is how negative feedback can be used to fuel your success. I’ve heard this face-to-face from mentors, I’ve read it in books and I’ve heard it in professional workshops. I’ve also heard it A LOT on Gary Vaynerchuk‘s podcast…which I seriously can’t recommend enough if you have not listened before. (Look up GaryVee wherever you download podcasts.)
If you’re ever looking to spin a negative into a positive, poor feedback and rejection is a great place to start. Within it, you’ll find seeds that can help you tweak, improve, plant and create something better.
To get the most use from negative feedback or failure, take it all in…without taking it personally. Make a point to set any hurt feelings aside to look at it as a tool that will help guide you in improving your product or work performance. I know that’s sometimes easier said then done, but I do really believe negative feedback is in reality free advice on how to do better. Go for it!
5. Schedule Time for Long-Term Goals
WAY back in 2016, Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power of Who What Wear dropped their book The Career Code and it was FULL of phenomenal advice no matter what career path you’re on.
But probably the best career advice I took away with me was the importance of making time for long-term goals.
In The Career Code, Hillary and Katherine talk a lot about time management and staying on top of your goals. They also discussed that in the midst of the everyday madness that can come with working in a fast-paced work environment, it’s easy to not make time for those long-term goals. After all, when shit’s hitting the fan and you have a million plates spinning at the same time…it makes sense that the big picture stuff can get brushed aside as you try to keep up. Right?
Well, their solution is to set aside time every week that is dedicated purely to those long-term, big picture goals. Whether that’s taking one full day of your five-day work week or two hours checking in with yourself, they stressed the importance of making that time. Given how successfully they took a blog that discussed what celebrities were wearing into a global brand with a successful fashion line, I think it’s safe to say this strategy is a keeper.
When working your way through all the little stuff, don’t forget to make time or lose sight of the big stuff. That’s what’s going to keep you on track and moving in the right direction.
What’s the BEST Career Advice You’ve Ever Received?
Looking for more career-related content? Checkout this post where I share How to Manage Multiple Projects like a PRO!!
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