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It's Friday! We made it. B and L have been swamped and B is down for the count with a nasty cold/flu thing that has kept her out of work. That means we're gonna give you some great links today and check back in on Monday. Happy weekend!
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I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up, and I’m totally fine with it. What I do know, is what I do and don’t like and have vague idea of what I’d like my next role/job to be - not a long term goal, more a medium term direction. I use this medium term direction to guide my short term actions. But I don’t have any goals of “I must become a VP by X age” or “I need to have kids/get married/buy a house by the time I’m X age”.
I don’t have goals like that for the same reason I don’t psych myself up for a particular type of croissant before I arrive at the corner bakery - inevitably I will be let down if my expectations aren’t met, even if my “second best” outcome is still an amazing one. The problem with career deadlines is you'll be disappointed if you miss them, even if you achieve something bigger and better. When we set long term goals like that, we are making assumptions about how the future will turn out. We’re assuming the world will stay on this linear path that may not even be logical.
Keeping leadership or your manager updated on the happenings of your work can be tricky at times. How do we strike the balance of keeping management informed, but not overloading them with details? My test for how well this is working, is if they ask me for a status, it means I’m not informing them enough. I teeter the line of providing the minimum amount of communication without getting questions. I see others in my office struggling to find this balance. They either over communicate which leads to more questions and increased stress (for everyone) or refuse to give information, which leads to a whole other mess of problems. With that, here are our tips on how to stand out through upwards communications:
Happy Friday! It's been a while since we've had a weekly debrief of some of our favorite links. Here's a few of the things we bookmarked this week:
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Last week we wrote a post on finding your career passion, and I talked about how I really like problem solving. At the time, I was deciding between two roles. One was in internal consulting in my company, a pure problem solving job. The other was a temporary position taking over a multi-million dollar project and righting the ship. So what did I pick?
Topic requested by K in NYC
The new year has started and we’ve all written our own performance reviews (if you nearly lost your mind in the process, please reference our post on staying sane during year end reviews), but now it’s time for us to write the reviews of those we manage. I hate writing my own reviews, and kind of enjoy writing them for others, not because I’m vicious and want to tear people down, but because I find it a really good time to reflect on what folks have done well how I can help them become better.
With that, here are our top tips on how to write a performance review for someone else
I’ll be the first to admit it - my work wardrobe is borderline Steve-Jobs-Predictable. It’s a formulaic mixture of ankle length trousers, sweaters, blouses, and sheath dresses all in the same color palette of blues, grays, black, and pale pinks. But why fix it if it isn’t broken? I learned during my consulting days on the road to buy pieces that can mix and match so I could create multiples outfits with fewer items in my suitcase and still look professional. Here are the items that I could not live without from my workday, business casual wardrobe:
The #1 reason I love ankle pants is because they work with both heels and flats. I can commute to work in in sneakers then pop on heels with no problem. They also can be slightly less formal than full length trousers, which means if I wear them with a blazer, I don’t look like I’m going for a job interview. The J. Crew Paley Pant (Pant #1 listed) is probably the only item of work clothing I have had multiple coworkers ask me where I purchased it.
Time and time again, we are told to “follow our passions” and to “do what you love and it won’t feel like work”. On the surface, I say, that isn’t possible. I love lounging around watching HGTV and going on vacations but I’d venture to bet that if I went pro, it would feel like work eventually.
I’ve always admired the women who can walk into a room and exude “I am polite, I am super smart, do not mess with me”. I’m working on that balance myself, and it’s not always easy. I’m an upbeat and peppy person, and especially while in consulting, was significantly younger than those I was advising. I learned early on (actually was kindly told early on) that my method of gaining credibility would be through “knowledge bombs”. Despite my bubbly and friendly demeanor, I’d speak up when I knew I had expertise regardless of the audience and… “drop knowledge bombs”.
Of course this technique only works if you are actually knowledgeable about a topic at hand and can look really bad if executed poorly. So what are other non-verbal cues you can give that exhibit leadership and “in-charge-ness” to those around you?
We’ve discussed the importance of networking repeatedly on the blog including navigating networking events, asking for informational interviews, and the almighty follow-up thank you note. But what about once you’ve made the connections, how do you keep the relationship fresh even when there is no immediately need to communicate?
This topic came up among my group of friends over the holidays. How does everyone keep in touch? Among the group (L, an investment banker, a pharmaceutical policy specialist, a few consultants, and an advertising account manager) we came up with the following events that were ripe for sending out networking emails.
A Career Blog for Women
Providing you with career advice we've learned along the way and creating a sounding board for working women.