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Went to a lunchtime brown bag session the other day to absorb some career advice targeted towards ambitious women, presented by Heather McGregor aka Mrs.Moneypenny. She was drop dead comical. A woman that refers to her children as cost-centre 1 and cost-centre 2 has to be without a doubt, hilarious.
This woman is a multi-faceted, multi-talented, driven, accomplished, dynamic machine. You can check her out over here.
She gave us all ambitious ladies a helicopter view of the 10 main points covered in her book (of-course she is also a published author), which un-surprisingly is called “Careers Advice For Ambitious Women”.
I want to summarise the 10 point advise from Mrs.Moneypenny with all you ambitious sisters out there 😉
1) Accumulate Human Capital – I know this term sounds fancy, but its not really, in fact its quite simple. This relates to “what you know”. Your technical skills, education, certifications and competencies. This is all that you would put in your resume. Heather’s advise is to ensure that this capital is constantly developed.
Don’t just acquire your degree and let the framed artefact rust on your living room wall of fame. Keep adding to your knowledge, its infinite. Sometimes us women tend to get relaxed with our circumstances and qualifications but sooner than we realise, those qualifications get outdated and we may in some cases have to start all over again.
Keep up with the information age, make sure that you continually bridge the educational gap. Human Capital is necessary but its not enough – this leads to the next point.
2) Accumulate Social Capital – This advise relates to “who you know”. Now don’t take this the wrong way. This advice is not asking you to improve your ‘brown nosing’ skills or make friends for an agenda. Heathers direction was to build social capital by helping people and be part of a regenerative community.
She mentioned her dislike towards the word “networking”. She felt it was a calculating word and believed rather that the multiplication power of positive experience related to helping others was far better method of building social capital than any other prescriptive formula. Social Capital is necessary, but, not sufficient.
3) No such thing as “I can’t do it” – Its important for us to have goals and push ourselves out of our comfort zone. Set up your personal (achievable) goals each year and accomplish them. Challenge yourself. Be in constant competition with your own self.
Heather decided (in her forties) she wanted to learn to fly and get her pilots licence and guess what – she did it! We all don’t have to fly a plane, but we must let ourselves get stretched to the point where we harness our anxiety to achieve and kick some serious goals.
4) Saying ‘No’ is difficult – but it is an important life skill – There are 168 hours in a week. I don’t know about most of you ladies, but I like to sleep an average of 56 to 60 hours a week, otherwise my mind & body do not function. That leaves a 108 hours. I spent around 70 hours a week travelling to work, working and travelling back home. That leaves me 38 hours of free will. Now I try to squeeze in what I can in those 38 hours a week – mostly that is time with my family at home. Get practising on saying “NO” to all those reasons that take you away from accomplishing your goals. You don’t need to attend every single social event (I’m very serious, you don’t need to). Make sure you allocate your time and prioritise what you want achieve out of your free time..
5) You cant have it all – You know those ladies that have perfectly balanced lives, look like absolutely picture perfect super models, who have Mr Perfect husbands, well mannered & obedient kids that finish their homework before reminders, a beautiful house impeccably clean and spotless. Wake up from this fantasy world! There are no such ladies or households.
If you are hell bent on trying to do everything, then everything will get done mediocre. We cannot expect ourselves to be household goddesses and kick-ass career women. Something has got to give, you cant have it all darling.
Try to understand your own ambitions. What is it that you want to achieve? Focus on your priorities. Its OK if you cant lick off your kitchen floor – it doesn’t have to be squeaky clean, that’s why we have the 3 second, 5 second (20 second?) rule!
6) But you have to do it all – Now lets clarify that point # 5 was not advising you to neglect your household. Everything still needs to be done, but you don’t have to do everything 🙂 Understand the art of multitasking and outsourcing! You must understand what your bare minimum outsourcing requirements are and get those gaps plugged.
Make sure you create an environment that harnesses ‘equal opportunity’ at home. Make sure your family chips into the chores that needs to keep your household running. Get your kids working for you in an incentive based plan 🙂
Work on your coping stills at work and outside of work. The earth will not shatter if something slips, understand that things will slip sometimes.
7) Financial Literacy – The key part of career aspirations is understanding financials. Get familiar with the language of the boardroom, understand the financial metrics that challenge the executives. Be on top of your own finances at home. Do you know exactly how much $$$ are required to run your household?
8) Do more than work and family – Heather referred this to building the ‘third dimension’. Involve yourself in communities and charities, not only is this rewarding, it also will add to your social capital, and build your human capital by acquiring new skills!
9) Getting Noticed – 5% of time on self publicity – Personal presentation is important. How do you present yourself, how do you look? Are you carrying around a Fushia pink handbag in one hand and gossip magazines on the other? What perception is that giving out to your career counterparts. Ask yourself these questions and remember to pay extra attention to your hair because everyone else will!
10) Who is on your team? – Remember the ‘third dimension’? Well, ask yourself who you have supported both at work and outside of work and who supports you? Go on and mentor someone, take someone under your wing. Incredible things happen when women support each other. Its a circular behavioural pattern. It is also important to have a support network of people that will back you up without hesitation. Take stock of who is on your team 🙂
I encourage women out there to take over the driving seat of your own career. Step on the pedal. Accelerate. Be Bold. Take risks. Support one another. Most importantly, back your self with confidence.
Parting with a funny quote from Mrs.Moneypenny – “Remember, a man is not a financial plan” 😉
© as|fa 2015