Skip to main content

The Advice I Wish I’d Had as a Grad

The Advice I Wish I’d Had as a Grad

It’s that time of year again. Graduation.

And so we’re hearing a lot of: “Commencement doesn’t mean ‘ending;’ it means ‘beginning.’” “Find your passion.” “You can do whatever you put your mind to.”

“You can do whatever you put your mind to ...”

Hhhmmm. Not exactly. Not completely wrong, of course, but there’s more to it than that.

You can do whatever you put your mind to if you are willing to work hard.

And you have some degree of luck. And you take some calculated career risks. And sometimes you just hold on. And you recognize that sometimes (and likely at least once in your career), it’s actually not your fault that you’re not moving ahead; it’s the nice boss who has a daughter and went to unconscious bias training, but yet never seems to promote anyone but cis white males. Too many women lose years of their career lives thinking that if they just work harder, he will promote them.

You can do whatever you put your mind to if you recognize that networking is the #1 unwritten rule of success in business.

Doing great work is not the whole job; it’s just the beginning of the job. If not that many people know you did great work, it may not count. That’s true for finding a job, of course, but it’s also true for any job you’re in, so you can make sure your voice is heard.

You can do whatever you put your mind to if you recognize that you don’t get what you deserve; you get what you negotiate.

And that might not be fair, but, for the time being, it just is.

You can get further over time — and we can all get further — if we “rush or point.”

I love this Abby Wambach rule, based on her viral commencement speech: If you score, point to those who helped you. If someone else scores, rush to them to celebrate their victory.

I would add one more: “Run to the fire.”

When people you know are struggling — or got fired, or demoted, or made a public mistake, or have to step away from work for a time, or are getting divorced — run to them. You may want to look away — after all, it may be catching. But it will mean the world to them at a time when they are struggling, and it may help them get back up.

Why do I love “rush or point” and “run to the fire?” Because business is not an individual sport; regardless of the message of the latest “you’ve got this on your own” self-help career book, the vast majority of us don’t succeed by ourselves. In fact, women in particular are more successful if they have a strong network and a group of close (women) allies, aka a squad. (And good karma is a boomerang.)

And (you knew we were going here) invest.

Early, and a bit out of every paycheck, when you are on solid footing. Not investing as much as men cost our mothers and aunts a frickin’ fortune over their lives.

Don’t know what “a frickin’ fortune” is? It translates into “life-changing amounts of money.” It has the potential to earn you the equivalent of a raise at work.

And it takes a lot less time to invest (you know, like just minutes in total) than it does to get a raise — which involves being great at your job, convincing your boss, maybe taking on extra work … all in all, a lot more than minutes.

Oh, and buy the f***ing latte.

Believe me, giving that daily latte up won’t make you a millionaire, and life is too short not to enjoy some creamy, delicious, warming coffee while you are slaying it — and stumbling and getting back up and hating your job and finding a new job and loving your job and doing it all over again — along the way.

Start slaying right now.

Read the original article here.

CO-FOUNDER & CEO, ELLEVEST


Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.

{{playbook.title}}

Continue learning with this Ellevate Playbook:

Ellevate Network is a community of professional women committed to helping each other succeed. We use the power of community to help you take the next step in your career.

By sharing your email you agree to our Terms of Use & Privacy Policy

By sharing your email you agree to our Terms of Use & Privacy Policy

🎊

Thank you! Career advice and opportunities are on the way to your inbox.

Add your zip code, so we can invite you to our local events!