Life would be so much easier for all of us if only we could time travel to give our younger selves some advice. Sure, mistakes and failures are necessary for growth, but even that information would have made dealing with the fallout from those mistakes a whole lot easier. That, and many of us do have certain regrets that we could probably have done without.
Any of this might have been the inspiration for a recent Twitter thread started by writer and “recovering attorney” Amy Riveter in which she asked: “If you could give your younger working self any advice, what would you say?”
Clearly, many more women than just Riveter’s friends chimed in to give their answers. Over 2,000 people have commented, offering career advice that is helpful to anyone who works. Seriously, if you’re young and working anywhere, you’ll find some good advice here. But especially if you’re a young woman working in an office environment.
Working as a woman comes with extra challenges as you attempt to navigate those tightrope walks between “passive” and “too aggressive,” trying not to appear mean and threatening while also fighting for the positions, raises, and promotions that men seem to get without hardly trying. It’s especially intimidating when you’re first starting out and are terrified of getting fired, all while combating the scourge of imposter syndrome.
After you’re fired once, however, you find out that it’s not the end of the world. When you’re older, you have to cope with wondering how all those fears and hesitations have held you back. The only way to make yourself feel better is to share your hard-earned wisdom with those as young as you used to be.
Here are the best bits of advice we could find from experienced working women across Twitter:
Make your invisible work visible. If you don’t communicate your value, no one else is going to do it for you.
— Leslie Lovato (@leslie_lovato) February 19, 2020
Don’t apologize for asking clarifying questions.
— elle. (@ElleLBee) February 20, 2020
A job where you can’t take an occasional sick day or planned vacation without falling behind or feeling guilty about what you’re leaving to coworkers is one where the office is understaffed or you are overloaded. Neither is sustainable.
— EmIpsaLoquitur (@EmIpsaLoquitur) February 19, 2020
Do not put your entire self-worth in the hands of one person aka your boss. Build relationships with people all over your company and most importantly in OTHER companies and industries so your network becomes your superpower. Also build an external personal brand.
— Dona Sarkar (@donasarkar) February 18, 2020
No job will care about your personal quality of life. They will replace you in a minute. Do not sacrifice your health and family….definitely not yourself
— yanaba (@yanaba9) February 18, 2020
You know better than your parents what career path is best for you
— Ms. Young Professional (@MsYoungProfess) February 18, 2020
Politely tell more people to fuck off ????
— Kim Taylor (@kimmytaylor) February 18, 2020
There will be about a two minute gap between when you’re being told you’re too young for the job and when you’re told you’re too old for the job. Don’t listen to any of it. Age is unwinnable for women.
— Megan K. Stack (@Megankstack) February 19, 2020
I followed this path and recommend it:
Take that chance everyone else thinks is crazy.
It will show you are unique & not afraid to take risks.
I moved to Finland, sight unseen, at 22 to be a radio reporter. Berlin Wall fell 2 months later; USSR 2 years later. Front row me!????
— Teri Schultz (@terischultz) February 19, 2020
Don’t let other people take credit for things you’ve done. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t bother you – the minute you let them take an inch, they’ll take a mile.
Also: fuck everyone who told you you should dress or look a certain way.
— Alanah Pearce (@Charalanahzard) February 20, 2020
See also: team player.
— VOTE-ika With a K (@badbuddhist01) February 19, 2020
Don’t take everything so personally. Also, it’s ok if not everyone likes you.
— Buried By Books ???????????????????????????????????????? (@FiFiRobTO) February 19, 2020
Because I’ve been a hiring manager and watched great female candidates take our 1st lowball offer, while averageish men always haggled thru at least 2 rounds of offers & counteroffers. Watched a woman take $75k, less qualified male $89k for same exact job.
— Angela Gillette (@gillette_girl) February 19, 2020
In the words of one of MY mentors: “Go through your resume and take out all the times you said you helped lead. Say you led instead. Men constantly lie about that shit and they’re the ones who get the jobs.”
— Tanis Fowler (@TanisFowler) February 19, 2020
Negotiate every offer. Get everything in writing. Look out for spies. Write shorter emails. Recognize the difference between your manager being IN a decision-making process and your manager already having MADE the decision.
— Anna Maltby (@amalt) February 19, 2020
Don’t do any unpaid work with the hopes of it translating to future paid work. It’ll only set up a dynamic to be devalued.
— dr timaree (@timaree_leigh) February 19, 2020
The magic happens when you say “yes” to opportunities that bring experience value and say “no” to the ones that don’t pay your worth.
— Sonya Trachsel (@SonyaTrachsel) February 18, 2020
If your colleagues and bosses are not actively supporting you, they are likely actively sabotaging you. Bias is real; work on a team that is inclusive and diverse.
— Elissa Kuykendall Unton (@ElissainLA) February 19, 2020
politics & ego get in the way of good work. recognize when you can’t change that. gossip will never benefit you. confiding in people at work is handing them ammunition. people have agendas. confide in your friends outside of work. lead with kindness. work from a place of yes.
— karyn spencer (@KarynSpencer) February 19, 2020
Treat your job like a client and look to cultivate others, have 1+.
Do what is required but don’t work yourself to a frazzle making someone else successful.
Keep a kudos list/email folder to remind yourself & others of your excellence.
Take time off
Don’t eat at your desk.
— Andrea Morgan (@AndreaDMorgan) February 19, 2020
Have the audacity of your male colleagues. Apply for those jobs even when you don’t check all the desired attributes. You’ll knock them dead in the interview.
— MissBwalya (@missbwalya) February 19, 2020
Don’t waste time (personal and professional) on people who don’t believe in you. Reframe imposter syndrome as being wise enough to realize that you stilll have a lot to learn—so ask all your questions and count it as professional growth!
— Sara Gates (@skgates) February 18, 2020
Take the sick days. Take the vacation days. Take the personal time. It’s all yours and you aren’t earning brownie points/protection by not taking them.
— it’s babe dylan bitch (@kaylasansk) February 19, 2020