Career Advice from Four Women We Admire

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This blog started because, two years after graduating from college, I was totally lost and confused about my career.  I had a great education and job under my belt, yet I was still trying to figure out who I was, what I wanted and how to get there.  After four-and-a-half years of blogging and hundreds of emails from girls across the globe, I can vouch for the fact that the “confused career girl complex” is more of the majority than the minority.

So today, I wanted to highlight some advice from a few women whose careers I admire.  It may help you put things in perspective and feel just a tad more normal!


On Feeling Lost: Ellen Degeneres

Feeling a bit lost is perhaps the strongest emotion of a twentysomething. And, of course, this confusion spans beyond work in most cases. Who should you date? Where should you live? Did you really choose the right major? Should you go to grad school? What will your life be like in 6 months? 6 years?  The uncertainty can be awful to deal with.  Just remember, it’s TOTALLY normal and each of your experiences and choices are part of your story.  It’s not all supposed to make sense yet, just keep paying attention to your gut and don’t be afraid of change.

On Life After College: Lena Dunham

I love Lena Dunham for so many reasons. She is about as real as it gets, and this quote is no exception. Coming from a girl who frequents the red carpet and has her own show on HBO, this quote is one ambitious young women should take seriously.  If you’re a college senior and you’re reading this, try to approach your first few years of life after college with realistic expectations.  While life after college may not be all that glamorous at first, it is absolutely crucial to your long-term success.  There is a bigger picture to all that crap work you are doing. Try to take a long-term view and see how your daily tasks fit into the bigger picture.

On Being a Woman in Power: Sharon Osbourne

This is that delicate balance many ambitious women struggle with: how do you command respect without losing respect?  This is no easy feat and takes a lot of time and practice (if you need help, check out these tips from “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office“).  As my own career has progressed, I’ve learend the importance of having advocates for my success inside and outside of work.  Be sure to establish your own personal board of directors who can help you handle some of that “toughie businessman” stuff.   And as your career advances, work with executive recruiters who can negotiate on your behalf and “sell” you to employers who can help you take the next step in your career.  Both my husband and I worked with awesome recruiters to get our current jobs.  We both feel strongly that without our recruiters, we wouldn’t be in our ideal positions, working for great companies and having so many opportunities for growth.

On the Importance of Reputation: Giuliana Rancic

I really admire Giuliana Rancic’s tenacity and I love her career story.  It’s one everyone one of you should check out.  In the quote below she makes a great point: you can never take your reputation back.  Think carefully before you have a breakdown or lose your temper with a peer or client.  Those are the things that stick in peoples minds and eventually come back to haunt you.  Remmeber: you are always responsible for how you act no matter how you feel.

On that note, I love the following quote from Barbara Bush and think of it often when at a crossroads: “Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people – your family, friends, and coworkers, and even strangers you meet along the way.” Thinking like this should help you shape your reputation at work.

What other career quotes do you love?  I’d love to share them in a follow up post so please leave one in the comments section!  Also, which career women do you admire and why?

Nicole Emerick

Nicole Emerick founded Ms. Career Girl in 2008 to help other ambitious young professional women thrive in a career they love. Ironically, growing MsCareerGirl helped Nicole transition her own career from commercial banker to digital marketer. Today Nicole leads the social media team at a large advertising agency in Chicago. Nicole also served as an adjunct professor at DePaul University where she helped develop the careers of PR, Advertising and Communications students. Tweet with Nicole @_NicoleEmerick.