Think of your career like a path, not a ladder. The traditional concept of a straight up and down career path is pretty outdated. Most people try out a variety of jobs across multiple types of businesses or even industries. Exposure is one of the best ways to figure out what you really like and dislike! Not only does exposure help you decide what direction you might want to take your career, but it also helps you differentiate your experiences. The path or winding road career analogy is excellent from an exposure perspective (and often, an employer’s perspective!).
Be open. To new roles, responsibilities, and relationships. One of the best things you can do early in your career is to practice being open-minded. Learning and growing helps you strengthen your belief in yourself. However, being open also means admitting that you aren’t all-knowing; be open to seeking out and taking help where it is offered. For example, Strategy Girl. If you have questions and need help, we ask that you reach out! Helping women reach their goals is why we exist, and why many women who choose ‘helping’ professions choose them.
Make building relationships a priority. No one gets very far alone in this world! One of the greatest predictors of success and happiness is social connections. Even a study in the Harvard Business Review found that the social connections created from women’s groups lead to greater career success. We suggest joining communities like SG, as well as mentorship. In fact, we are launching a mentorship program because mentorship is crucial for career success and fulfillment. Let us know if you are interested in learning more about how to join.
Don’t underestimate the value of finding a best-fit work environment. Not everyone is meant to sit at a desk all day. Not surprisingly, some people are not meant to sit at a desk at all. Try to find out what type of work environment best suits you early on in your career. Some women love open offices while others need privacy and silence. Working from home or remotely in a coworking space like WeWork or The Wing is also another very popular option. And do not forget about office culture. Some are competitive, some are collaborative, and some have no strong culture at all.
How do you figure out what work environment is the best fit for you? Build relationships. Talk to women in different roles, at different organizations, and in various phases of their careers. Ask about job shadowing opportunities. Don’t have the connections you need to make it happen? Remember, we can help. We really do encourage you to reach out.
Stay positive and start a side hustle if necessary. Sometimes early career roles suck. You know a stepping-stone role when you are in one, and often, they can take a toll on the psyche. Our founder’s full-time gig started as her side hustle. It took time to become viable but all good things usually take that and more. Finding meaningful work you love (especially starting your own company) does not happen overnight, but it can happen if you strategize. It also helps to cultivate perspective, openmindedness, a killer network, and the time and space needed to self-reflect.
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