6 Tips for Starting a Career
I’ve been a part of a lot of LinkedIn discussions and blogs about everything from home to health to business (and everything in between). A question was asked for advice for young women just starting out in the workforce. I expressed a couple of viewpoints to the conversation, however concluded that it merited its own post.
This particular question really struck a chord with me because I am the mother of five children, four of whom are girls. My eldest child is 15 and entering the 10th grade. In a flash she’ll be all alone, hoping to discover some way on the planet. As a mother, a role model, and a woman, what advice could I offer her or any of my daughters? In fact, what advice would I offer to someone just starting out in their career? Here are some ideas:
– Morals and Ethics Do not deviate from your morals and ethics from an early age. Someday, you will probably be asked to do something that goes against what you consider to be moral or ethical. They won’t stop you from applying (even for a promotion). Hold undaunted to what you accept and you’ll be astounded at the amazing open doors that will open for you.
– Completely master your skills. Apply what you have learned from your surroundings, situations and experiences, school, and everything else to everything you do. Learn it well and keep learning, no matter what your passion is—computer, people, training, leading, or anything else. In any field, there will always be something new to learn. Never stop learning new things.
– Make friends and gain fans. When you climb the success ladder, don’t step on other people. You’ll rise faster and stay there for longer if you have more fans and friends.
Don’t cross any bridges. Whether you’re leaving position willingly, or not, don’t sever the ties you do have. It’s impossible to predict when you’ll require those contacts in the future. Be professional in all interactions, even if you dislike someone or something about the organization. If you take things too personally, you hurt your feelings, but time will forget.
A network after another. Spread your name early and often. Try to meet everyone. Your name will one day be heard all over your industry—hopefully in a good way. Recently, I attended a vendor’s partner conference. They kept saying, “Ooohhh, so you’re Kristy Lopez,” as I was introducing myself to people I had never met before. My name has gotten around in the remote business, and I have gained notoriety for myself as the “one who doesn’t take anybody’s poo, period.” I have learned to put myself out there, not to take “no” for an answer, and what it takes to defend myself and my business. In any industry, it’s good that I’m wanted as a woman.
– Take a stand for yourself. Just because you’re a woman, there are a lot of people who will make fun of you, tell you that you can’t achieve your goals, try to stand in your way, and want to see you fail. Don’t satisfy them in that way. If you gave it your all, you won’t fail. If you didn’t succeed completely the first time, get up, excuse yourself, and try again with the information you’ve gained. Try a different route if that one didn’t get you where you wanted to go. Try not to be harassed and don’t allow anybody to put you down! You can be and do anything you want to be!