When you start your first job as a career woman, it’s safe we could all use a little advice. In the beginning we want it all; a great title, a sufficient salary to supporting myself yourself as an adult, but most importantly we want to be a part of a work culture that values us and what we’re doing, something that goes beyond our actual responsibilities. We want to make connections with people, and leave an imprint as we create our legacy. Now I realize that’s a lot to ask at once, and I know it doesn’t happen at the very beginning, but young professionals today want to know how we can get to this point, and advice on how to follow our passions without selling out. So where does one go for career advice? I recently attended the Young Women in Business- Toronto Chapter conference, Shatter:Breaking the Glass Ceiling, a conference inspired by industry-leading women who have worked their way up the corporate ladder, or have taken the entrepreneurial route and created thing awesome. Regardless of the industry, all of these women had one thing in common—hustle. And passion, but mostly hustle, because nothing comes easy and working for what you want is the only way to solidify what’s yours.
You don’t need to choose sides
Whether you have a passion for entrepreneurship or prefer working in corporate, at this conference it wasn’t about one or the other. All the women talked about how hard work (the hustle) is key to getting to that place in your career where you can sit back, breathe and say “I did it". You have to be a team player and push yourself in order to grow and be able to take that next step in your career.
It’s not a “No Boys Allowed” club
Now I know when someone says “Young Women in Business” you think it’s ONLY women and men aren’t allowed because it’s about women supporting other women. To be honest, there were a few men at the conference who strongly support more women in male-dominated workplaces. One guy was even brave enough to ask a question on how he can recruit more women to his company. To me that’s brave and exactly what a business conference should be doing.
It’s okay to ask the tough questions
The second half of the conference was the panel of women from the corporate side speaking about pay raises and how to initiate a conversation like that with your boss. This struck a chord with me because this it’s something I could see myself struggling with in the future. So I decided to raise my hand and ask the panel, “How do you talk to your boss about a promotion?” and even asking that question made me nervous. When it comes to salary, things get tricky and complicated and it makes me nervous because what if the price you set for yourself is too high? Or what if what you’re asking is too low and they think you don’t believe in yourself enough? I learned that in order to go in and ask for a pay raise, you need to have evidence to support your case.
Keep a list of your accomplishments, projects you’ve worked on, and contributions to the company and set up a meeting with your boss to discuss your status with the company.
It’s easier said than done, but it’s a start. Open communication with your boss is also key in establishing your success because no wants to be blindsided. Be honest, be respectful and stand your ground.
Don’t let anyone tell you your passion is “silly” or “useless”
I mean hello, this is why their called passions or hobbies. It’s something we enjoy doing every day and can’t picture our lives without. So if you can make a career out of it, then why wouldn’t you? This one seems like a no brainer and the typical speech of “follow your heart”, but it’s passion that gets you somewhere and even if you haven’t figured it out yet or found your dream job for the 40-50 years, it’s okay! Dream big and chase after what you want. You can mistakes and try different career paths because in the end it will lead you to where you need to be.