Resources and links mentioned:
What you'll hear:
[0:16] Terrible career advice I heard recently
[0:59] Why this advice is so bad
[1:07] What's better than being "good" at work
[2:25] Permission to stop identifying with your job
[3:15] How to know what job is right for you
[4:15] The biggest challenge currently facing young women
[4:46] My career story
[5:13] Career resource
I know International Women’s Day has already passed, but I want to talk about it anyway. Because on that day, a woman posted some advice to her young daughter about becoming a successful woman.
Here’s what she said: “If you are good, and work hard, you can be anything.”
It sounds great, right? Well, it’s actually terrible advice.
I don't want to shame parents or teachers who have said something like this, especially if they’re trying to encourage young women to dream big.
But I know from experience that this advice is not quite what they need to hear.
And that’s why I’m a career development strategist who’s committed to helping millennials build careers they’re excited about.
Finding a career that fits you well can be a tricky and confusing process especially for young women.
That’s why this quote upset me. It doesn’t point us to the skills we need to be truly successful in the workforce.
Instead of advice like this, young women need to hear three things.
First, we need to hear that “being good” isn’t really the key to success.
Yes, of course, be a good person, be excellent at your work. But being good and working hard doesn’t necessarily give you opportunities in the workplace.
You don’t get promoted for being good and following the rules. In fact, being good and working hard can actually backfire. I’ve seen it happen.
I’ve seen women work so hard in their roles that they get stuck in their jobs. They don’t get promoted.
They don’t get new opportunities because the management doesn’t want to lose them. They’ve made themselves difficult to replace.
Here’s what I would tell young women instead: More important than being good is being resourceful.
Be a critical thinker. Take risks. Be innovative.
Resourceful people are priceless employees because they figure things out. They are ambitious, motivated, and adaptable.
They are trustworthy; they solves problems. If they see something broken at work, they take the initiative to fix it.
I would tell young women yes, be a good person and work hard. But also challenge yourself to become a creative, innovative, and resourceful person.
Here’s my second piece of advice: Have a job, but don’t be your job.
That line in the quote that says you can “be” anything you want… it can mislead us, as young women, into basing our identities on what we do to make a living.
This is a problem, first, because you are not your job. And, second, because as millennials, we change jobs all. the. time.
If you get your identity from your job, when your job changes, it can trigger a full-on identity crisis.
I would advise you to focus less on the job you have and more on knowing who you are, regardless of the job you have.
This is how you become way more adaptable, confident, and resourceful.
Here’s my third piece of advice... You can't be anything you want.
The quote says “if you’re good and work hard, you can be anything.”
Unfortunately, there is nothing further from the truth. You can’t be anything you want.
I’m sorry, I know it sounds harsh, but it’s true. There are so many jobs that you should not have.
Let’s look at me as an example:
I should not work as an electrician; I would probably electrocute myself.
I should not work as an airplane mechanic; I would probably forget a bolt somewhere and the plane would crash.
I should never be an administrative assistant; I would probably lose track of something important and get fired.
I get it. In many ways, we are super lucky. We have so many options for work these days. It’s awesome, but it can also be overwhelming.
The challenge for young women is not to try and be anything, but to narrow down the field of options as quickly as possible.
Instead of trying as many careers as you can, spend your time exploring your strengths, interests, and skills to find a job that fits you.
Now more than ever, it’s important that millennials really hone in on the skills that will empower them to be successful.
This is why I love my work. I remember what it’s like to leave a job I did not love. To find something that I could be excited about. But I had to build it from scratch. And to be honest, it was tough.
I have been on this journey for many years now. I’ve done the research and read the books.
I’ve taken everything I’ve learned to create resources to help millennials like me excel in the workplace.
I’m so excited to share one of those resources with you today. I’ve made a private podcast episode that’s full of practical tips you need to find work you’re excited about.
This podcast is for you if you’re stuck in a job but ready for a career. If you want to feel good about the work you do. If you’re ready to change jobs but aren’t sure how to get started.
I hope you take this small first step to finding better work by downloading this resource >>here<<.
Even if you’re afraid of being judged by family or friends. Even if you’re worried about making the wrong choice. Even if you’re anxious because you don’t know what you’re doing.
This isn’t about finding the perfect job; that doesn’t exist.
But this is about building a career that aligns who you are with what you do.