wellness

"Take your sick days": 37 pieces of genius career advice women would give their younger selves.

One thing that will always be true in life is, you don’t know what you don’t know.

This is especially frustrating in the career and work space, whether you’re just starting out or moving into a new industry, because it makes for a lot of guesswork.

How much should I be paid? How much do I deserve to be paid? Am I qualified for this position? Can I ask my boss that? Am I allowed to say no to this?

Ideally, the first port of call for all these kinds of things is a mentor or co-worker you can trust, someone just as invested in your success as their own. But if you don’t have access to someone like that right now, there are some very helpful women on the internet who are here to help.

Side note – here’s a very accurate depiction of how all the different star signs handle things at work, does yours sound familiar? Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia

Recently, entrepreneur Amy Nelson posted a simple question on her Twitter account: “To my working women friends: If you could give your younger working self any advice, what would you say?”

At the time of publishing, more than 2,000 people responded. That’s a lot of career advice.

We’ve gone through and done the hard work for you by pulling out the very best pieces of professional advice other women would give their younger selves if they could go back in time.

From asking for more money and learning to say no, to how to write better emails and why eating at your desk is never a good idea, here are 37 excellent nuggets of work wisdom to tuck away in your back pocket for the next time you might need them.

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1. “They aren’t smarter than you. And speak up LOUDER.”

2. “Girl, have your babies. Or freeze your eggs.”

3. “‘Loyalty’ is a word they use to keep you in your place.”

4. “Take that chance everyone else thinks is crazy. It will show you are unique and not afraid to take risks.”

5. “Always, always counteroffer and fight for more pay when being hired. Because I’ve been a hiring manager and watched great female candidates take our first low-ball offer, while average-ish men always haggled through at least two rounds of offers and counteroffers.”

6. “Prioritise therapy earlier, invest in great childcare, order groceries online, be unapologetic about what you want, (keep) being nice, find allies at work and in your community and don’t eat at your desk.”

7. “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have! As a young assistant, I dressed like a salesperson. People made fun of me, but I rose through the ranks quicker partly because I looked the part.”

8. “Always have creative side projects and hobbies that feed you.”

9. “Apply for jobs like a man. If you’re marginally, barely-qualified, still apply.”

10. “Learn how to block out time for you that is just thinking/reflection time. Don’t let the busy eat you alive before you notice it’s happening. Your reflection time is incredibly valuable! You don’t have to be constantly producing to be productive. Give yourself room to think.”

11. “No is a full sentence.”

12. “Negotiate every offer. Get everything in writing. Write shorter emails. Recognise the difference between your manager being IN a decision-making process and your manager already having MADE the decision.”

13. “Do not put your entire self-worth in the hands of one person a.k.a your boss. Build relationships with people all over your company and, most importantly, in OTHER companies and industries so your network becomes your superpower.”

14. “There will be about a two-minute gap between when you’re being told you’re too young for the job and when you’re told you’re too old for the job. Don’t listen to any of it. Age is unwinnable for women.”

15. “Don’t respond to emails or calls outside of work hours, that sets a precedence of work expecting you to respond to their every whim.”

16. “You must be your own best advocate. Write down your accomplishments, if not every day, every week. Email them to yourself or put them in a notes app. Refer to them when it comes to review time or negotiations. No one else will remember your accomplishments for you.”

17. “Take the sick days. Take the vacation days. Take the personal time. It’s all yours and you aren’t earning brownie points/protection by not taking them.”

18. “Make your invisible work visible. If you don’t communicate your value, no one else is going to do it for you.”

19. “One pair of really nice black pants is better than ten cheap pairs. OK, maybe two so you have a spare when the others are in the wash.”

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20. “The sooner you get comfortable with difficult conversations, the better everything will be – at work and at home.”

21. “With very few exceptions, never apologise for something you shouldn’t be sorry for.”

22. “Every decision made about you and your opportunities is made in a room you’re not in. So, create champions for you in the room. Champions look for what you can do in the future, justified by what you’ve accomplished in the past.”

23. “It’s not a punishment to work another job while you are chasing your dreams. I landed my dream job at 41, don’t be afraid to be a late bloomer.”

24. “Ask lots of questions and surround yourself with people who inspire and motivate you!”

25. “Always be there for the women coming up behind you. You’re never too important to take the time to help someone out. Similarly, people want to help, so ask!”

26. “80 per cent of feedback is more about the person/institution giving it.”

27. “Invest in the relationships with your colleagues and peers. The people you’re coming up with now are the people you will know your whole career. It’s hard to know that when you’re just starting out, but careers are long.”

28. “I’d tell myself to quit seeking validation. You don’t need it. You know what you’re doing, you’re a freaking pro. Stay focused on your own growth and work, then success will follow.”

29. “Ask for more money. And then ask for more again. Never stop asking for more of everything. And if you don’t get it, go somewhere else and ask for more there.”

30. “Always give credit where credit is due on the team, including yourself.”

31. “Embrace fear. Always choose the thing that scares you – growth doesn’t happen in your comfort zone!”

32. “Never burn a bridge. Ever. Future you will thank you for it.”

33. “If whatever you’re worried about won’t matter in five years, don’t bother worrying about it now.”

34. “You don’t need to be liked by everyone.”

35. “Do not apologise or feel like you have to sneak around when leaving early or arriving late due to family obligations. You don’t owe anyone an apology for taking care of responsibilities outside of work and that should not have an impact on your quality of work or performance.”

36. “A company doesn’t get better as you work your way up. If it sucks when you get hired, it’s gonna suck ten years later. Getting a promotion in a sucky company isn’t going to make it better.”

37. “My dad told me once: If you like your job 50 per cent of the time, you’re doing better than most people. I share this a lot with people who think they should be blissfully happy at work.”

Feature image: Getty.

What career advice would you give to your younger self? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

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