Lessons for the overachieving, perfectionist, fresh female graduate and young professional that you will not hear elsewhere.
Patience, Little Sister
If you can afford to wait a little, DO NOT – I repeat – DO NOT jump on the first job you’re offered after graduation, especially if it’s not in your field. Yes, it’s scary out there; and yes, competition is fierce. But you’re an asset to the job market – you WILL have options. And while changing fields is always possible, it gets harder the longer you wait. You’d be surprised how many people get ‘stuck’ in a field they hate simply because that’s where they started.
Don’t Give it Your All
Here’s the big secret: You do NOT need to be perfect to keep your job. Companies will make you think you’re expected to give 200%, yet are perfectly comfortable hiring (and promoting) complete slackers. The sad truth is, companies feed on women’s perfectionism and insecurities – but it’s not the baseline for being a good employee.
Working Outwards vs. Inwards
I bet you’re putting 90% of your time and energy inwards (perfecting your tasks) and 10% outwards (networking & branding). That’s a fatal mistake. 5 years from now, no one will care about a post you did for work or an internal report – but your network and name in the industry will open doors you never imagined. You can be a great employee and still invest in your future.
Learn to Handle Criticism
If you’re a perfectionist, there’s a good chance that constructive criticism sends you spiraling. That’s because perfectionism is fueled by fear of feeling shame, and criticism might feel like an attack on your personality. Well, it’s NOT. When it’s truly constructive and comes from an overall good person, it might just be helpful advice. Deflecting blame or over-explaining yourself is not the right course of action. When faced with criticism, ask yourself: Is this person commenting on my behavior, or my personality? If it’s the former, be open to listen.
Start a Side Hustle
Now. Right now. It doesn’t have to be fancy; you don’t need a business plan and a 20-step program. It could be a blog, or a meet-up for people in your industry. It could be anything you want – as long as you’re passionate about it and you believe it solves an existing problem.
Why should you spend your precious free time on a side hustle? Because that’s where you make a name for yourself, hone your skills, and build real, long-lasting confidence. Even if you don’t make a dime, it’ll set you apart from everyone else. And yes, nothing gives you a confidence boost like being your own boss.