Tag Archives: career advice

10 Life Lessons for 20-Somethings

10. Know that there is NO magic number.

Like most people, I thought of 30 as pretty grown up (read: old) when I was a kid.  After all, my mom was 30 when I was like 12 and she seemed pretty darn grown up to me.  I’ve since learned, however, that there is no magic number or event or epiphany that suddenly turns one from a normal (sometimes immature, not always right) human being into a GROWN UP.  I’m still afraid of scary movies sometimes and I never turn down playing at the park with my nephews and nieces–things my ten year old self didn’t think grown up 30 year olds would do.  We all seem to grow up and mature at our own speed (and some of us never do!) so it’s a little naive to think that a graduation, a job, a baby, an age, or anything else will make us a grown up overnight.  It’s a process and we have to be okay with that.

9. Don’t compare yourself to others.

In the same vein, don’t compare your journey to someone else’s.  Maybe in your mind, someone your age should have a house, a career, a child, a sports car, or a stamped up passport.  So? I guarantee you, everyone your age does not have any of these things–and some of them don’t even want these things.  In our current Facebook/Twitter/Instagram inundated world, it can be difficult to not compare ourselves to our 400 or so “friends” who seem to constantly be on trips or getting promotions.  I started college at 22 and didn’t finish my Masters until I was 28.  I graduated and began my job search with classmates who were 23 and it was a little daunting at times.  But I know that I learned so much during my twenties–through mistakes, second chances, taking risks–and I wouldn’t trade those things for a Masters at 23.

8. Know what you’re working towards.

We work so hard to find a job and make money, and often, we have this sort of vague idea of what we want to accomplish by having a steady income.  But on days when you’re feeling a little burned out or annoyed by some work policy, it will be important to remember exactly what you’re working towards.  Maybe for you, it’s a house to live in with your partner, a baby by 32, or early retirement so you can travel the world.  Knowing what you want outside of the office can make the world of work much more enjoyable.

7. Figure out your priorities.

It’s funny–at twenty, it can be easy to blow off class or be distracted during a test because you’re thinking about a crush, a breakup, or a great first date.  At 30, it can be just as easy to come home to your partner late everyday for a week because you’re so engrossed in work.  Life will always be about balancing your needs and goals with the needs and goals of those around you–especially those you care about.  The ending of a three month relationship at 21 can seem devastating, but man, there are more important things–like that math test.

6. Figure out why you work.

For money.  That’s the most obvious answer, right? Personally, I understood at an early age that getting an education and a job I cared about would mean freedom for me.  Freedom to do the things I enjoy.  Freedom to make decisions based on my happiness and not because I’m struggling financially.  Free to be with someone, not because I’m dependent upon them financially but because I love them.

Why do you work?

5. Learn where to get the help you need.

Whether it’s financial, career, or relationship counseling, find resources and use them.  Figure out which supermarket offers the best value for your money.  Figure out which mentor to go to with an issue.  Figure out an alternate route to and from work in case a random tornado comes (hey, it happens–trust me).

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4. Don’t be afraid to learn new things.

Last year, I knew very little about social media marketing or website design.  But I really wanted to start this blog–so I figured it out.  I’m not super technical, but I know that I have to be willing to learn new things to continue growing.

3. Learn the art of patience.

There were times in my twenties when I felt like college would never end.  Working for minimum wage would never end.  Bad dates would never, EVER end.  But, you know, they did.  They ended sooner than I thought and taught me more than I’d planned.  So be thankful for the times that feel like they’re never ending-maybe they’re leading to something else entirely.

2. Don’t feel guilty for your success.

It can be hard to feel happy or proud of our accomplishments when other people we know are hurting or in a bad place.  But remember, you earned this.  You worked hard, you set goals, you figured out your priorities, and you were patient.  Everyone has moments of greatness–celebrate yours.

1. Know that this list might just be a bunch of crap.

Steve Jobs once said something along the lines of, “This thing we call life–these rules and ways of being that we think we have to adhere to–were made up by human beings just like us.  So don’t live someone else’s idea of life–go live your own.”

These were my lessons and I am happy to have shared them.  Now, stop reading my little list and go live your life.  :)

 

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How Social Media Can Advance Your Career

Job seekers are often told to safeguard their social media accounts to insure that they aren’t viewed during the job search.  While this can be wise advice, there is another side to the story:

Using social media to ADVANCE your job search (and your career).

With the majority of professionals (and people in general) on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. these days, being “unsearchable” via social media may be more trouble than it is worth.  When I can’t find someone through social media, I sometimes wonder why–are they making all accounts super private because of something inappropriate? What’s going on?

While it is a great idea to “clean up” your Facebook or Twitter accounts so that potential employers don’t get a negative impression, you can also use social media to your advantage.  I use my Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts to post (publicly–so that “everyone” can see) any major accomplishments, such as receiving a promotion or presenting at a conference.  I also post information about events that my office organizes or articles relevant to my field.

I work in a field that offers great work/life balance but also a good integration of professional and personal life.  Many of my colleagues are Facebook “friends” so I post appropriate personal information as well, like recently buying a home, becoming engaged last year, and birthdays of my nephews and nieces.

I’ve had many Proactive Professional readers find me on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.  I’ve also received emails from professionals who Googled me and found my website and Facebook page.  When this occurs, I am grateful that my public Facebook reflects positive things in my life, an interest in my field, and the work I’m doing in career counseling.

Consider going beyond protecting your Facebook from colleagues, supervisors, or potential employers.  Instead, use social media to your advantage by creating a “brand” for yourself online.  Using social media proactively may convince potential employers or current supervisors that you’d be a great fit within their company–or are ready for a promotion.

Make sure that how you're viewed on social media is in alignment with who you are and how you want others to see you.

Make sure that how you’re viewed on social media is in alignment with who you are and how you want others to see you.

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What to do When Your Partner is More Successful Than You

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a pretty big fan of the TV show Scandal.  Now, I know Fitz and Olivia have legions of fans, but my favorite character has always been Fitz’s wife, Mellie.  Mellie is a highly educated woman–she was at the top of her law school class and well on her way to making partner in a law firm when she put her career on hold to help make her husband president.  The feelings of resentment, pride, and being taken for granted that Mellie has have sometimes been a focal point of the show.  It is often intimated that Mellie is much smarter and more motivated than her husband and could have perhaps been president herself in a different time or place. 

Hopefully, your partnership isn’t rife with political scandals, adultery, and old fashioned resentment, but perhaps you’ve felt at times that your career has taken a back seat to your partner’s.  What is the answer to an issue like this? Push yourself harder in your own career? Get a divorce? Have an affair with the vice presidential candidate (that was Mellie’s solution, by the way)? Well, I’m here to offer a few solutions that don’t involve (no pun intended…okay, pun intended) scandals.

1. Recognize the unique talents you possess.

Maybe your partner is a wonderful attorney or an excellent engineer.  That’s great, but perhaps you really excel at public speaking, mentoring colleagues, or performing mathematical equations.  Understanding what YOU do well will help to alleviate feelings of inadequacy that may develop when discussing your partner’s accomplishments.

2. Never stop encouraging your partner.

It takes two people to make a partnership and both of you bring your own unique skills, talents, and personality to the partnership.  You fell in love and committed to your partner for a reason–I bet some of that has to do with their professional strengths.  Never stop encouraging them to continue on in their career path.

3. Ask yourself if your career is where you want it to be.

Perhaps you’re having feelings of inadequacy because you are envious of your partner’s professional life.  Take some time to consider whether or not you’re happy and fulfilled in your own work.  If not, figure out what will make it better–do you need to get another degree, transfer departments, learn to supervise or do your work in a different way? Instead of focusing on what isn’t going right, figure out how to make it better.

My greatest hope for Mellie is that she’ll eventually utilize her many strengths to rebuild her own career.  It seems that, in the beginning at least, she willfully put her own professional life on hold to help her husband become our (fictional) president.  That’s lead to feelings of resentment in their marriage and decreased self esteem for her.  If you’re feeling this way, realize that you and your partner have separate careers–your two different people with different professional values and interests, so comparing your career to theirs is like figuring out whether Grey’s Anatomy is better than Scandal.  They’re too different to even try and measure.

#Team Mellie Image

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Once Upon a Timesheet…

Over the holidays, my fiance and I began watching ABC’s “Once Upon a Time.”  We’ve only made it into a few episodes of Season 2, but the main premise of the show is that all of the citizens of this modern day town are actually fairy tale characters who have been cursed and have forgotten who they really are.  Of course, I related it to career stuff– I recently began a new position as a career counselor at my grad school alma mater and have been thinking a lot about what kind of career person I am–and what kind I want to be.  As we watched “Once Upon a Time,” I thought of who the characters are right now and how they’re working to figure out who they’re meant to be.  Here are some brief descriptions of the characters–which one(s) describes you as a professional?

Snow White: Snow would’ve probably spent her whole life as a relatively placid person if the Evil Queen didn’t constantly try to take everything from her.  In terms of careers, I’d probably dub Snow White a “reactive professional.” She’s not here to make waves, but if provoked, she’ll do what’s necessary to protect the people and things she loves.

Little Red Riding Hood: Red, as she’s more commonly known on the show, has an odd little quirk: during full moons, she turns into a wolf.  Initially, Red saw this as a weakness.  She did everything possible to bury the wolf inside of her (so to speak) and to keep her true nature a secret.  As the show goes on, we see Red embracing what she once thought of as a weakness and using it to help others.

The Dwarfs: The dwarfs work all day in the mines, a task they were literally created to do.  They’re not trying to change the world; instead, they understand that their work fulfills a need and are content with this.

The Evil Queen: The Queen would probably consider herself a misunderstood individual–she didn’t set out to hurt anyone in the beginning, but was wrapped up in blaming others for what has went wrong in her life, and eventually became evil.  The Evil Queen considers herself a victim of other people and of circumstances, so she works to take down or control everyone around her.

Rumpelstiltskin: Everything Rumpel does or orchestrates is to achieve one goal.  He is so focused on achieving his goal that he does not care who he hurts or what pieces of himself he loses in the process.

Emma Swan: Emma, the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, has run away her entire life, never becoming too involved with anyone or any cause.  However, she is the only person who can break the curse.  She sees what is wrong and what needs to be fixed and is willing to fight to make things better for everyone.

During our careers, we will probably play all of these roles.  We believe we’ve been wronged by someone or something and forget our own role within the situation.  We don’t want to really commit to a career path until we find something we can’t walk away from.  We become too focused on achieving something and stop considering how it impacts those around us.  We feel guilty for not being brain surgeons, forgetting that hospitals need nurses and custodians and x-ray technicians to keep everything going, too.  I think that the most important thing we can do is figure out who we are and embrace it–embrace what makes us different, acknowledge our mistakes, understand who we want to become professionally.

Here’s the funny thing about fairy tale characters–they’re often painted as either the hero or the villain with no room for shades of gray.  I’ve definitely had bosses and co-workers who seemed more Evil Queen than Cinderella.  But my “Evil Queen” might be someone else’s mentor.  I’ve worked with students who have told me that I’ve changed their life (or at least their career)–definitely an Emma moment.  And I’ve had students who have looked at me blankly and I was certain I didn’t help at all–so perhaps I was Dopey to them? The most important thing is to figure out what role you want to play in your career and your life–even if you never achieve happily ever after with your goals, there’s always tomorrow…

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Listen to Your Instincts to Create the Life You Want

There are many people who don’t believe in instinct, gut feelings, whatever you want to call it.  But I’m not one of them and I don’t understand their logic, so this post is for the people who do believe in following their instincts.  When I’m working with students and they’re struggling with whether or not to change their major, I pull up a few of the majors in which they’re interested.  We go through the required and elective classes for that major.  At some point during this exercise, students say something along the lines of “Oh my God, these classes sound like deathhhhh!” or “Wow, this major offers really cool classes!”  It’s my not always foolproof way of helping them figure out their interests without ever having taken a class.

Why? Because I think you know yourself better than I do.  You know, instinctively, what gets you excited, makes you feel fulfilled, fills you with dread.  Sometimes a class, or classes, look like an interesting possibility but then you take the class and realize it’s not quite up your alley.  Being able to articulate why you don’t like the things, people, subjects, that you don’t like is just as important as understanding what you do like.  So, maybe psychology wasn’t the right fit, but you still like the general concept–sociology could be your right major.

And sometimes your instincts just make no damn sense.  I love reading–always have.  So when an opportunity to intern at a publishing house came up during my junior year of college, I took it.  What could be better for a book lover than to edit manuscripts all day? I got to edit some really good manuscripts, some pretty bad ones, and some that were just plain boring.  At the end of the summer, I knew that editing wasn’t the right fit for me.  Sometimes turning something you love into a career just isn’t right for you.  But wait–my instincts told me this would be a great experience! What the hell happened?

Here’s what happened: I use that example in at least half of my advising sessions with students.  They’ve put two years into a major they don’t like, they’ve just finished what looks like a useless internship.  They feel like quitters, failures, and yes, sometimes like idiots.  So, I tell them about my foray into the publishing world–how I would’ve always regretted it if I hadn’t pursued it, how it taught me a lot more about what I didn’t want to do with my life, how I did learn some really valuable skills (like planning events) that I still use today.  So, my instincts didn’t fail me–it just took a while for me to understand what they were saying.

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Introverts in the Workplace

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Is a Video Resume EVER Appropriate?

In my job, I counsel a lot of college students (aka Millennials) during their job search. One question that frequently comes up in my course for seniors, “Marketing Yourself for the Job Search,” is how creative you can be with your resume. Students ask if putting a QR code on an otherwise blank sheet of paper will suffice, if their resumes can have various colors and fonts, and if they can submit video resumes instead of paper versions. Typically, my answer to all of the above is a resounding “no.”

I recently read, however, that by 2024 Millennials will make up three quarters of the United States workforce. This has led me to ponder whether or not employers should become more Millennial friendly. When the question of video resumes came up again, I gave it some serious consideration.

Video Resume Tips

Things to consider before creating a video resume

  1. If you’re thinking about filming a video resume, it’s important to ask yourself if this would be appropriate for your career field. Accounting firms, for example, are highly unlikely to spend time watching video resumes—they’re much more concerned about your accounting abilities. Marketing firms, online organizations, and social media sites, on the other hand, might appreciate or even require a video resume. They want a glimpse of your personality and an idea of how well you can sell a product.
  2. You must also consider how likely it is that an employer who doesn’t require a video resume will even view one. On average, hiring managers spend less than thirty seconds looking at a resume. And these are typed resumes, probably printed out by their assistants. If a hiring manager spends less than a minute on a standard resume, what are the odds that they will take the time to watch yours?
  3. When thinking about who will be looking at your resume, you also have to consider company culture. Are you applying at a tech-savvy start-up or an old-school legal firm? If you think you can produce a well made video resume that allows your personality to shine, do so. But keep a paper version for the potential employers who only want to know what skills you’re bringing to the table.
  4. In my opinion, the goal of a resume is to showcase your skills and experiences, not your personality. The resume’s purpose is to illustrate to the interviewer that you can do the job. The actual job interview is where you expound upon your skills, answer any questions they have, and determine (for both parties) whether or not you’re a good fit for the company.

Call me old-fashioned, but I think that a live, in-person interview (or even a phone or Skype interview) is the best place to show off your personality—save the YouTube videos for your vlog.

*This article, written by Proactive Professional, originally appeared on Levo League.

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30 Things Professionals Should Know by 30: The Final Ten

So, I fibbed a little.  I said I was going to have the final installment of “30 Things Professionals Should Know by 30″ up by Saturday, but birthday/weekend me took over and I am just now getting it posted.  I think there’s always a bit of pressure with the last ten (or five, or whatever) of anything because they’re viewed as these are the ULTIMATE things you should know!!!!! Well, I’m here to say that my 30 by 30 list doesn’t exactly go in a particular order–some people may be more inspired, or more connected with, number 26, or number 8.  So, don’t think of these as the absolute last word in 30 things you should know–I’m sure some of you knew this stuff at 22 and others of us might not get there till 65.  These are simply lessons I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way!) and lessons other people have shared with me.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.

10. Know that there is NO magic number.

Like most people, I thought of 30 as pretty grown up (read: old) when I was a kid.  After all, my mom was 30 when I was like 12 and she seemed pretty darn grown up to me.  I’ve since learned, however, that there is no magic number or event or epiphany that suddenly turns one from a normal (sometimes immature, not always right) human being into a GROWN UP.  I’m still afraid of scary movies sometimes and I never turn down playing at the park with my nephews and nieces–things my ten year old self didn’t think grown up 30 year olds would do.  We all seem to grow up and mature at our own speed (and some of us never do!) so it’s a little naive to think that a graduation, a job, a baby, an age, or anything else will make us a grown up overnight.  It’s a process and we have to be okay with that.

9. Don’t compare yourself to others.

In the same vein, don’t compare your journey to someone else’s.  Maybe in your mind, someone your age should have a house, a career, a child, a sports car, or a stamped up passport.  So? I guarantee you, everyone your age does not have any of these things–and some of them don’t even want these things.  In our current Facebook/Twitter/Instagram inundated world, it can be difficult to not compare ourselves to our 400 or so “friends” who seem to constantly be on trips or getting promotions.  I started college at 22 and didn’t finish my Masters until I was 28.  I graduated and began my job search with classmates who were 23 and it was a little daunting at times.  But I know that I learned so much during my twenties–through mistakes, second chances, taking risks–and I wouldn’t trade those things for a Masters at 23.

8. Know what you’re working towards.

We work so hard to find a job and make money, and often, we have this sort of vague idea of what we want to accomplish by having a steady income.  But on days when you’re feeling a little burned out or annoyed by some work policy, it will be important to remember exactly what you’re working towards.  Maybe for you, it’s a house to live in with your partner, a baby by 32, or early retirement so you can travel the world.  Knowing what you want outside of the office can make the world of work much more enjoyable.

7. Figure out your priorities.

It’s funny–at twenty, it can be easy to blow off class or be distracted during a test because you’re thinking about a crush, a breakup, or a great first date.  At 30, it can be just as easy to come home to your partner late everyday for a week because you’re so engrossed in work.  Life will always be about balancing your needs and goals with the needs and goals of those around you–especially those you care about.  The ending of a three month relationship at 21 can seem devastating, but man, there are more important things–like that math test.

6. Figure out why you work.

For money.  That’s the most obvious answer, right? Personally, I understood at an early age that getting an education and a job I cared about would mean freedom for me.  Freedom to do the things I enjoy.  Freedom to make decisions based on my happiness and not because I’m struggling financially.  Free to be with someone, not because I’m dependent upon them financially but because I love them. 

Why do you work?

5. Learn where to get the help you need.

Whether it’s financial, career, or relationship counseling, find resources and use them.  Figure out which supermarket offers the best value for your money.  Figure out which mentor to go to with an issue.  Figure out an alternate route to and from work in case a random tornado comes (hey, it happens–trust me). 

4. Don’t be afraid to learn new things.

Last year, I knew very little about social media marketing or website design.  But I really wanted to start this blog–so I figured it out.  I’m not super technical, but I know that I have to be willing to learn new things to continue growing.

3. Learn the art of patience.

There were times in my twenties when I felt like college would never end.  Working for minimum wage would never end.  Bad dates would never, EVER end.  But, you know, they did.  They ended sooner than I thought and taught me more than I’d planned.  So be thankful for the times that feel like they’re never ending-maybe they’re leading to something else entirely.

2. Don’t feel guilty for your success.

It can be hard to feel happy or proud of our accomplishments when other people we know are hurting or in a bad place.  But remember, you earned this.  You worked hard, you set goals, you figured out your priorities, and you were patient.  Everyone has moments of greatness–celebrate yours.

1. Know that this list might just be a bunch of crap.

Steve Jobs once said something along the lines of, “This thing we call life–these rules and ways of being that we think we have to adhere to–were made up by human beings just like us.  So don’t live someone else’s idea of life–go live your own.”

These were my lessons and I am happy to have shared them.  Now, stop reading my little list and go live your life. :)

 

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Should You Follow Your Passion?

Yesterday, I was watching the TV show “Dexter” and reading an article on passion versus contentment.  I realized that I’ve read a lot of articles, books, and blog posts about finding and pursuing your passion in the last couple of years.  Self-help books at Barnes and Noble and on Amazon are filled with such titles as “Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow.” There are plenty of articles and blogs that tell us to “follow our passion” and “live a life of bliss.”

But the truth is–doing what you love does not always mean the money will follow.  Take Dexter Morgan–Dexter seems pretty okay with his job as a blood spatter analyst in a homicide department.  But his real passion (obsession? pathology?) is hunting down bad guys and murdering them.  Dexter is passionate about being a serial killer.  And his passion ain’t cheap.  Dexter spends a large amount of money on prepping for his, um…hobby, and taking care of the clean up (literally).  Although Dexter does, in fact, pursue his passion, he does not get any money, health benefits, or even recognition for doing so.

The point? Sometimes a passion doesn’t always lead to a career.  And pursuing said passion does not always mean the money will follow.  If you love kids, for example, you may occasionally daydream about pulling an Angelina and having or adopting ten of them.  But that probably doesn’t make sense for your life in terms of money, free time, or your (or your partner’s!) sanity.  It’s wonderful to be passionate about a cause, a hobby, or even a career field.  But letting that passion take over your life can quickly lead to burnout.  I think it’s more important to find something you enjoy, are content doing, and that fits in with the life you want to lead.

I recently talked with an old friend who is trying to decide between two career fields that are somewhat similar, but also quite different–nursing and social work.  During our discussion, we talked about why she is drawn to each field and how being a nurse or social worker would impact her entire life.  While it’s incredibly important to care about, and even love, what you do for a living, it’s also important to remember how your career will impact the rest of your life.

Some questions you may want to ask include:

  • Will this career provide me with a comfortable salary?
  • Does this career align with my values?
  • Would I be good at this job? (i.e., do I have the necessary skills or the ability to acquire those skills?)
  • What is the general culture of this career? (Liberal, conservative, intellectual, easy going, etc.)
  • Do I want a job that is routine and structured or flexible and varied?
  • If I pursue this field, how will it affect my family or the family I want to have in the future?

Choosing and pursuing a career path takes a lot of thought and some level of certainty.  You might adore taking pictures and be drawn to the field of magazine photography, but if you have little desire to spend years working your way up the ladder or traveling the country (or world) then perhaps photography can be a fun hobby for you.  If that is the case, figure out why you’re drawn to magazine photography–is it for the notoriety? the money top photographers make? the opportunity to meet celebrities? the ability to express yourself artistically?  Then try to find related careers that better align with your values, interests, personality, and long term life and career goals.

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July 18, 2013 · 11:15 am

Lessons from TV’s Top Career Women

Don’t be afraid to take on more responsibility.

Mary Richards, The Mary Tyler Moore Show

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Mary Richards entered WJM’s news studio with the hopes of landing a secretarial job.  She finds out the position has been filled and is then offered the role of Associate Producer.  Though she wasn’t sure if she was up for such a task, she accepted the job anyway and went on to become a news producer.  The lesson? Even if you’re not sure that you have what it takes or the skills necessary for a job, believe in yourself.  Know that you’ll learn along the way, if you’re passionate enough and willing to work hard.

Build a great team.

Olivia Pope, Scandal

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Olivia Pope has a kickass team, known as the “Gladiators” that are amazingly loyal, fiercely protective, and damn good at what they do.  When she decided to build her “fixing” firm, Pope and Associates, she made sure that the “Associates” each had unique skills that would come in handy as they fixed the many scandals in Washington, DC.

Figure out what makes you come alive.

Cristina Yang, Grey’s Anatomy

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Dr. Cristina Yang, a cardiothoracic fellow, is an innately gifted surgeon.  She is confident in her natural talents and abilities, but more importantly, she’s always willing to work hard and research to learn more.  Cristina strikes me as the type of super smart person who could have any career she wants, but she has chosen surgery because it makes her feel joyful.  She’s passionate about the field and loves nothing more than being in an OR.  Figure out what you’re good at and what makes you come alive—there you’ll find your joy.

Know that your priorities will be ever evolving.

Miranda Hobbes, Sex and the City

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When SATC debuted in 1998, Miranda was the quintessential NYC career woman.  She wore serious suits and wanted nothing more than to make partner in her law firm.  When her not-so-workaholic boyfriend Steve suggested they have a baby, Miranda scoffed at the idea because she had little desire to sacrifice or compromise her career for the sake of a theoretical baby.  When that theory became a reality in the form of unplanned baby Brady, Miranda (who had made partner at this point) had to let the upper management of her law firm know that she was going to cut back on her work.  In the second SATC movie (I know, I wish I could forget it, too) Miranda ends up leaving her large firm to take on a role in a smaller, more family friendly firm to have more time for her son and her (now) husband, Steve.

Try your best.

Debra Morgan, Dexter

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Her newfound penchant for murder aside (RIP LaGuerta!), Debra Morgan tries really hard to work her way up the ranks and become a better detective.  In Season 1 of Dexter, Deb is a patrol cop whose primary responsibility seems to be acting as an undercover cop in a prostitute ring.  With her brother Dexter’s help, Deb works to figure out how to become a great detective and receives a promotion.  In later seasons, Debra is again promoted, this time to Lieutenant of Homicide.  Though Deb realizes she is underprepared for this position, she decides to take it anyway.  She works hard to combine her own sometimes abrasive style with the needs of the homicide unit.  Like Mary Richards before her, Deb gains confidence through figuring out what she is doing right and what can be improved upon.

All of these women can teach us important things about being a proactive professional.  Believe in yourself.  Build a team you can believe in.  Find your passion.  Understand your priorities and know that they’ll probably change.  Work to learn as much about your field as possible.  And say yes to intriguing new possibilities (but, if at all possible, say no to murder—murder is probably not the way to climb the professional ladder).

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