Have you noticed how career advice has changed over the years? It’s had a fascinating evolution alongside the changing workplaces. For example, back in the 1920s, career advice for women involved keeping your head down, doing what you were told, following instructions, and not taking unauthorised actions ( aka making decisions). It wasn’t much different in the 1950s when your career choices were usually limited to teaching or secretarial roles. Anything beyond that meant facing a struggle against the male-dominated and very traditional hierarchy. Career advice then was (again) to do as you were told, don’t rock the boat and be prepared to give up your career when you got married.
Fast forward to 2022, and our advice is very different, as are the career choices open to us all, male and female. What advice would we be given today?
Well, I’ve researched to see what advice is out there, and I’d love to hear from you whether you agree with it. I’d like to thank the generous people who shared their thoughts on LinkedIn.
- Take risks. If you’re feeling too comfortable where you are, try something new. Take a sideways career move or take on a project. Disruption helps you discover what you really want from your career now and in the future.
- Embrace failure. Change your mindset to see failure as part of the learning process. With every failure comes new insights, new information and even new skills. Failure is part of growth.
- Don’t play small. It’s not your problem if others are uncomfortable with your abilities. Marianne Williamson said, “Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.” Obviously, we want to be empathetic and not steamroll anyone, but organisations pay for their people’s smarts, not for them to play small.
- Stop saying sorry. Many of us have a habit of apologising for what we say or do in case it offends someone. It’s part of playing small that we play down our successes or reduce the impact of what we say, even when we’re solving a crisis. When will we learn that we don’t have to apologise for being talented? Pantene created a powerful commercial based on the strong is a beautiful theme. Have a look and think hard about the message. “Don’t be sorry; shine strong.”
- Accept imperfection. The pursuit of perfection is a dangerous road. We will never achieve it because perfection doesn’t exist. Instead, stop putting your energies into perfection and aim for excellence and continuous improvement.
- Identify what is most important to you. Know your why, know your values. Use these to understand and make decisions based on your deal breakers. Build your career around what matters to YOU, not what others tell you should matter. Finding clarity here will help you build a career you love and can be proud of. The Career Clarity Online Program will help you understand what makes you happy and how to build a career to support it.
- Start saying NO to the things that don’t light you up and YES to more of what does. Not knowing when to say “no” creates a dilemma that’s hard to get out of. Your time is already limited, and you are spending more and more on other people’s priorities and less and less on your own. You are working harder and faster, and yet, you are not able to catch up. If you want to take hold of your career here’s a great tip on how to say no and not feel bad about it.
- Don’t do it alone. Building a career is a long, hard road if you do it alone. Eventually, you’ll come to a roadblock you can’t pass without help. From the moment you begin work, start building relationships with the people around you. Build strategic networks which are mutually beneficial based on the principle “We will work together because it gets us where we each want to go”. A sound strategic network will get you to the top. Download my free guide to building a successful network.