career

Mamamia staffers on the most valuable piece of career advice they ever received.

Open Colleges
Thanks to our brand partner, Open Colleges

Every man/woman/millennial and their dog/cat/goldfish has a piece of career advice.

Some of it will be mind-numbingly obvious, ‘Don’t dream about success, work for it,’ and some of it will be reasonable and measured, like Sheryl Sandberg’s reminder that, “Done is better than perfect.”

Sometimes it will be downright contradictory, ‘Your salary isn’t a gift, it’s money you’ve earned because you’re valuable to your company… But asking for a pay rise will come across as greedy and self-entitled.’

And still other times it will be simply unforgettable, like Tina Fey’s nugget of comedic genius, “Stop eating people’s old french fries, little pigeon. Have some self-respect. Don’t you know you can fly?”

There’s no denying it – there is a lot of career advice out there. And that means it’s often difficult to dissect fact from fiction and expert knowledge from well, less than that. So, together with Open Colleges, Australia’s leader in online learning, we put it to some of Mamamia’s most successful: What is the best piece of career advice you have ever received?

This is what they had to say.

Mia Freedman – Co-Founder, Content Director.

“Author Elizabeth Gilbert wrote about how crucial it is to learn the difference between a hobby, a job, a career and a vocation. These things can often overlap but they are not interchangeable. I see so many people make the mistake of thinking their hobby can be their job or that their vocation needs to be the same as their career.

A hobby is a light hearted pursuit with low stakes. A job is how you make money to take care of yourself. A career is something not everyone has but it’s something you invest time and money into (in terms of sometimes even working for free). And a vocation is a calling, something you can’t NOT do.  It’s easy to confuse these four things sometimes but that can be a cause of great stress and frustration.”

valuable career advice
Mia looks to author Elizabeth Gilbert for advice. Image: supplied.
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Kate De Brito – Editor, Mamamia.

“You don’t have to come up with all the ideas.”

Alys Gagnon – Editor, The Motherish.

“Fake it til you make it.

“That doesn’t mean, pretend you have skills or qualifications you don’t have. What it means is, be confident. Trust yourself, and trust your training. Yes, you will feel nervous, yes you might worry that you’ll make a bad call. You might even feel like a fraud, like one day you’ll be found out. Push through it. Fake the confidence you might be lacking.”

valuable career advice
“Fake the confidence you might be lacking.” Image: supplied.

Kate Spies – Head of Editorial Strategy.

“Always go to your boss with a solution.”

Monique Bowley – Content Director, Podcasts.

“The best career advice I have is to remain curious. In everything. Never stop asking questions. ‘How does this work?’ ‘How can I add value?’ ‘What is my role here?’ ‘How can I make this better’? ‘Why?’ If you’re curious about your work, the people you work with, and the industry you’re in, it can lead you down new, wonderful paths.”

valuable career advice
Remain curious and always ask questions. Image: supplied.
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Anne Markey – Managing Editor.

“Don’t be afraid of silence. Let people think and consider, don’t give a knee-jerk response just because the situation might feel a bit awkward. (This is a really useful tactic when you’re going for a pay rise: set out why you deserve it, then let your boss ruminate. I promise they feel as uncomfortable as you do!).”

Holly Wainwright – General Manager, Podcasts.

“Everything changes, all the time. Don’t be afraid of it. You don’t want to be the person who whose heels are in the mud when the wagon starts pulling in a different direction.”

Kylie Rogers – Managing Director.

“Adapt or die.”

valuable career advice
Adapt, pure and simple. Image: supplied.

Ruby Thomas – Branded Content Manager.

“Having the strength to say no. When you’ve got too much on your plate, push back. You can only do so many things and it’s important to do them well and to best of your ability. Taking on too much work when you’re already overstretched will mean you deliver more but at lower quality (and with no work/life balance). You’ll end up burnt out and resenting your workplace.”

Cecilia Blakeley – Art Director.

“Fake it til you make it. No one else knows what they’re doing either! It’s all about FLEARNING!*

*A combination of failing and learning, flearning means to learn from your mistakes.”

valuable career advice
“It’s all about FLEARNING!” Image: supplied.
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Danika Johnston – National Sales Director.

“Never stop learning…from others. Embrace change, it’s an important part of your career.”

With over 100 years’ experience and more than 150 flexible online courses that allow you to fit study around your lifestyle, Open Colleges Australia could be the perfect opportunity to turn words into action (and old french fries into inspiration).

What advice rings most true for you?

Looking for inspiration? These 8 excellent women will have you brimming with ideas.