You Are Here
Guess what? If you’re not looking out for your career, then nobody is. If you want to be passionate about what you do, committed to the changes you make, and successful, then you must take control
of your professional destiny. Only you can determine who you are, what you can do, and where you want to go. This chapter will hold your hand while you step back and evaluate where you started, where you are on the career path today, how you got there, and most important, where you want to be tomorrow. We will ask you to ask yourself the tough questions: What does success mean for you? Are your fears holding you back? Is your job still working for you? Where did you envision yourself at this point? What kind of employee or manager are you? By diving deep into what motivates you professionally and reading the stories of women who have taken charge of their own careers, you will be armed with a better understanding of yourself and able to take that first step on the road to changing your life.being the girl who makes it happen
We wrote this book for every woman out there who knows she can do more and wants to tackle the challenge. If you are stuck in your career, frustrated with your position within a company, or bored with the professional path you have chosen, then it is time to change your thinking. Start with a simple question: At the end of your life are you going to be proud of the extraordinary amount of time you have spent on this work?
If you’ve answered “yes,” then use this book to get you to the next level by learning the skills to ask for what you deserve and confront your challenges head–on.
But if you’ve answered “no,” then use this book to figure out what’s missing—and what you need to do to take charge of your worklife. If you have gotten into the habit of writing a negative script for yourself, we’ll work on the rewrite. Don’t accept that you are the girl who never gets what she wants
. Instead, become the girl who makes it happen for herself
Think about this. According to a study done by the National Sleep Foundation, the average American spends forty-six hours per week at work. We’d bet it’s actually higher than that, especially with inventions like the BlackBerry. And forty–six hours plus is a lot of time. Since the majority of our waking hours are spent working, we had better like what we're doing. The more we like what we do, the more energy we'll be able to devote to doing it well.
The key to finding happiness in what you do is in accepting who you are and what you want from your work life. Comparing your path to others’ won’t get you anywhere because your skills, values, personality, responsibilities, and even your location are all unique factors that will affect the trajectory of your career. If you’re frustrated with where you are right now, then finding the answers to what you should do about it starts from looking within.defining your own success
Over the last few years, we’ve asked hundreds of women to define success. For the women just starting out, success was most often a title above their peers, and the income to match. Many women in the middle of their careers felt successful if they had jobs that enabled them the flexibility they needed to be successful working mothers. And women late in their careers defined success as loving what they were doing professionally.
Wherever you are now, being aware of what success is to YOU will help motivate you to achieve the kind of career that is fulfilling and challenging and pays what you want, too. Being aware of your goal will also help you create the action plan.
Here are a few factors to consider when you’re trying to define what success looks like.
• Is making big money a priority? If so, what are you willing to sacrifice for that money? If you sacrificed your personal life for money, would you still feel successful?
• Does size matter? Are you looking to manage a big team? Are you willing to train to become a strong leader? Do you have the confidence required to manage effectively, and if not, can you fake it?
• Is achieving a flexible schedule a factor in your success? If so, are you in a career that makes that possible?
• Does working part–time define success? Are you able to do that right now?
• Would you feel successful having a job that required you to travel?
• If you could just clock–in and clock–out with no residual stress, would that feel like success to you?
• Does it come down to being passionate about what you do professionally?
• Would you feel successful if you were working at a nonprofit?
• Do specific people in your industry inspire you, and if you worked with them would you consider yourself successful?
• Is there a specific event that would define professional success for you? A great talk, producing a play, having a book published, receiving a glowing review or a reward?
• Is there an office that you have had your eye on, and if you were sitting in it, would you feel successful?
• If your team looked to you for guidance, support, and direction, would you feel successful?
Your personal definition of success will change during your lifetime, so check in from time to time to see how you are doing against your list. And feel free to change the list—priorities change as you mature. The key is to keep defining and redefining your success.
The sooner you can identify what values are important to you and to your dream career, the faster you can create the ideal work scenario. While answering the difficult questions posed in this chapter, go easy on yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for not changing things sooner if you discover you are unhappy. Don’t kick yourself for passing on a job offer that with the benefit of hindsight looks appealing. And don’t self–limit by ruling out opportunities because you just don’t think you are “that type of person.”
For this book to work, you need to be honest and open to new ways of looking at your career and yourself.FIVE CAREER BOOSTING MANTRAS
As we speak to more women about their travels up, down, and off the ladder, we have heard several spiritual principles appearing in business advice. We love the idea of integrating these forms of wisdom because all of the people we find most professionally inspiring are at their essence spiritual people.
We have created this list of our five favorite career truths, mantras to say to yourself as you are getting ready to take control of your professional destiny and to recenter yourself when you feel off track.Be Present Every Day in Your Life and in Your Work
Welcome New Ways of Thinking
Seek and Embrace Change
Act on Opportunities
Be Open to Meeting Your Next Mentorhow do you picture your career?
So you know you want things to change, but you’re not exactly sure what you want the new picture to look like? Read through our list of statements and identify those that resonate:
• I want to stay where I am but would like to improve my situation with a raise and promotion.
• I want to stay with the company but am interested in moving into another area.
• I want to find another job in the same profession but with a different company.
• I want to break into another industry.
• I want to start my own business.
Keeping your career goal in mind will provide a focus while working through this book. But don’t be surprised if by the last chapter you find yourself with an entirely new outlook on your professional future.you yesterday
How did you even get here? Paying attention to where you’ve been can give you great insights into what you’re doing now, whether it’s right for you—or not.
Caitlin’s favorite job was during college when she paid the rent by working at a bakery (if you ever find yourself in Amherst, Massachusetts, it’s called The Black Sheep Deli). She loved the busy mornings when the shop was humming with students and professors grabbing cups of coffee and muffins before going to class. Because the bakery was in the center of town and campus, even when working she was in the loop on what was happening in the outside world. She loved taking lunch breaks with her coworkers, many of whom were in her classes at school, and she enjoyed being around the food. Most of all, she was thrilled to be working for someone who had his own thriving business, who created an environment that attracted customers and encouraged them to set up shop in the window seats to read books while drinking their afternoon lattes.
Did any of this indicate where she would end up? You tell us. Caitlin is now working in public relations (social, in–the–know), she writes books (feels like college), she specializes in food media, and she is the co–owner of two businesses.
While it’s easy to identify what you don’t like about your current situation, it isn’t so easy to articulate what you do enjoy. You may find the answer by looking at your past.YOUR CAREER TIMELINE
Let’s start digging. Take a piece of paper and write down the jobs you have held (paid and unpaid). Remembering how you spent your time at each one, choose the one where you were happiest. Write down the reasons for your satisfaction. Was it teamwork? Was it the corporate culture? Was it your boss who made it your favorite? Was it how you spent your day? The clients you dealt with? The skills and lessons learned? Now look at your list. These are the qualities you want to add into your current work situation.
Now, to help save yourself the pain and agony of looking at professions that won’t energize you or make you happy, identify your least favorite job. What were the reasons for your discontent? Were you micromanaged? Underappreciated? Uninspired? Was it a negative place to spend your day? Hopefully these are workplace qualities that you can avoid!
For those of you who think that your personal and professional lives are entirely separate entities, look closer at your Career Timeline and remember what was happening at home when you held each job. You may notice that during a particularly trying time in your personal life your career stalled. After a much–needed vacation you returned to work with an updated resume and energy to start looking for something better. While focusing on taking charge of your career, don’t forget to take charge of your personal life, too. When things are in balance it is significantly easier to think clearly and make small or large changes.
Last, look at where you started and where you are right now. Did you have a plan or did things just happen? Have you had a vision for your career and made decisions all along moving you toward your goal? Or does it feel like you have always sat in the passenger seat as your career drove itself along?
Jen Ramos, the promotional director of Vroman’s Bookstore in California, had no plan for her career but found her path through her jobs.
When I got out of high school I wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted to be when I grew up. I went to junior college for a couple of years and still couldn’t figure it out. It wasn’t until I went out into the work force that I was able to find my way.
But it was a side job that pointed her in the right direction.
In my early twenties I worked in an accounting department of a major corporation, but on the side I managed a friend’s band. I loved their music and wanted as many people as I could find to hear them. So I took on the job of promoting them. I booked shows, I submitted their music to radio, and I eventually landed them their first record contract, along with their first record producer. While I was working with the band I found that I needed to be in a real job that would help me with contacts and resources to help them—and that led me to my next favorite job, working for an independent record company. I loved the promotions part of the job. Succeeding in getting the band on the radio or seeing large crowds at their shows was the cherry on top. I eventually left the record company, but I always stayed in promotions. Today, I am a promotional director for a wonderful independent bookstore.you today
So you know where you came from and what you have done. What about the here and now? Does the job you have still work for you? Do you still work for it? This section of the chapter will help you take that long necessary look at work life as you know it.DOES YOUR CURRENT JOB STILL FIT?
As two people who have been publicists, event planners, marketing consultants, television producers, and authors, we’re living proof that there is nothing wrong with changing your career midcourse or even more. Take an honest look at what you are doing right now to earn a living and be prepared for the fact that you may have outgrown it. Even though you went to school for law, you may have developed a passion for screenwriting or an interest in travel and want to make a change. You may have taken your current job because the salary was just too high to walk away from but have found yourself hating it. You may have signed up for a Web designing class in your spare time and discovered that not only did you love it but you are great at it. You may really enjoy what you do, but because of family responsibilities you need to make more money doing it.Did you take the job just for the money?
If so, ask yourself if the money is still worth your valuable time. If not, then that is good to know because instead of trying to create a better scenario where you are, maybe you should be focusing on moving to another company or starting a new profession.Does your job challenge you?
This may not be a priority for you. Sometimes we go through phases in our lives where our personal life is too draining to crave challenges at work. Or, you may have outside interests that require focus and energy and you don't have much else to give. But, if it is important for you to be challenged every day, then that is something that your job has to offer.From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpted from The Girl's Guide to the Big Bold Moves for Career Success by Caitlin Friedman and Kimberly Yorio. Copyright © 2008 by Caitlin Friedman. Excerpted by permission of Crown Business, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.