The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received: Work

Rachel McAdams in Morning Glory


Earlier this week during a sticky situation at work, I realized that I have been blessed by being surrounded by some amazing mentors. My mother raised me while being a career woman which included opening her own business. She instilled in me a good work ethic and surrounded me with other amazing career women that just happened to also be her friends. They showed me a woman can be successful in any industry she chooses as long as she works hard. They also gave me advice for when I started out in the working world, which just so happens to be right now. Here are the five best pieces of advice I’ve received from strong and admirable working women on being a young woman in the workforce:

* Never cry in front of anyone at work, it’s not worth it. You may have been yelled at, you may have had your best idea ever shot down, or you may have just been backstabbed by your coworker who you thought you were your best friend. You feel really emotional and want to cry your eyes out right there on the spot but what I’ve come to realize it’s not worth it. It is just work and as terrible as it feels right now, think about coming into work the day after you cried in front of your coworkers. Work is not your life so try as hard as you can to put it into prospective right then. If you can’t, hold it until you can get to a quiet, unpopulated bathroom and either cry there or get it under control.

* Take responsibility for your actions. Being responsible is a good goal for your whole life but it is especially important for your work life. When you take responsibility for your decisions in the work place, your superiors and your coworkers know they can trust you. Responsibility isn’t always fun; sometimes you’re going to make a decision that may be wasn’t great for you or your company. But it’s important in good times or bad to take responsibility for your actions. Being responsible is also being reliable.

* Always arrive early and prepared. When you own the business, you can show up late. Until then, make sure to show up early and never, ever cancel without calling. Not emailing, calling. It’s just more polite that way. As for being prepared, you can never be too prepared. So what if nobody else grabs a notebook for a meeting? If you don’t have a mind like a sponge, then grab your notebook and be proud later when you know exactly what you need to succeed.

* Have a voice and use it responsibility. Speaking up is part of being a good team member. Share your ideas and your company might just benefit. And if your company benefits, you probably will too. But remember, speaking up has to be done responsibly. Remember words have power. Fighting, secrets and negative comments may not be the path you want to take with your words.

* Stand up for yourself. Just because you might be the junior junior assistant and the lowest and last on the totem pole, never allow yourself to be disrespected or degraded. You may be yelled at or forced to run around like a crazy person but never forget that you are a valuable asset to any company you work for. Just starting out you might have to do some things you don’t want to do but if it ever crosses the line and makes you uncomfortable, don’t stand for it. You may be younger and have less experience but don’t let someone walk all over you. You deserve to be respected no matter how young you are, so don’t forget it.


7 thoughts on “The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received: Work

  1. I love love LOVE this! Especially the part about not crying at work: I used to work with a woman who would constantly cry in the office, and while we all adored her, it did color how I approached her, what I would bring to her (or didn’t), etc.

    Great post…

  2. Excellent post! I especially liked this part: “Fighting, secrets and negative comments may not be the path you want to take with your words.” We often forget that words are not forgotten, and as we move forward in our careers we can’t erase what we said in “private”. Those close confidantes may become direct reports (it happened to me!) and it becomes awkward if you haven’t ‘used your voice responsibly.’

    Stay above the fray. Great advice – all of it.

    Cheers on being pressed.

  3. Nice post. My daughter is a recent college grad, too, and is in her first job.

    I was a career woman, too, and I remember those days when I was first starting out. Your advice is sound.

    Good luck to you in your career, and with this blog!

  4. Mikalee, I feel your pain about the crying coworker. Makes it really awkward when you have to tell them something because you just don’t know how they’ll react. I never want to be in that position myself.

    And thank you everyone! I really am grateful for all my wonderful role models who passed this advice on to me. Just trying to help out the other newbies like me!

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