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CAREER

The Fifth Letter To My Sisters

Career: knowing your worth

BY Pauline Katethya

Mar 11, 2021, 10:51 AM

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It’s a tough world sis. You'll step into the real world with so much zeal and expectation. You’ll think your first job will buy you that car or the house you’ve always dreamed of, but it won’t. Before you get there, you’ll face so many lows, but don’t give up. You’ll apply for jobs but you won’t hear from them. You will be underqualified for some, you’ll receive so many nos but don’t let that break your heart. Keep applying and do whatever you can to put yourself out there. You will be confused about your career path, but not knowing is a good place to start.

There are no rules to making it in the career world. What might work for me might not work for you, but it’s good to open-minded. Here are some of the things that might help you as you grow professionally.

Network Network Network 

As a young person, you need people who will propel you to the right career path. Mentors who will help you grow by giving career advice and support. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people whom careers you idolize. They might not respond but you never know who will. Building good relationships with your colleagues, and bosses will help build your career. It will open the door for more opportunities, help you gain more knowledge by gaining insight into different worlds, build your confidence as well as hone your communication skills. You have to be willing to capitalize on relationships, they can be a career accelerator.

Be Assertive 

We live in a world where women’s voices are not heard well enough especially at the workplace. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind and share ideas. This doesn’t mean you do it irresponsibly, or disregard other people’s opinions, it means you know when to speak and how to address your concerns. Don’t be afraid to be called bossy. Your opinion is just as important as someone else’s in the room. Ever heard of the phrase nice girls don’t get the corner office? Well, it’s a book, but still, you need to know humility at work won’t do you good.

Being assertive also means knowing your worth. What you bring to the table. Don’t undermine or shrink yourself to let other people seem bigger. Don't be afraid to talk about money and bargain. You have a right to do so and a right to say no and walk away if the employer is not willing to meet you in the middle.

Get Your Hands Dirty 

You will meet women who want to enjoy the benefits of hard work but don’t want to put in the work. Don’t let that woman be you. Do your work well, invest your time and energy and always stand ready to be corrected when you are in the wrong. Starting might not be easy, but we all need to start from somewhere. Start small and grow yourself up. It might not make sense now but someday it will. 

Be Open To Opportunities 

Don’t limit yourself to one area of specialization. Try and do something new even if you lack experience in that particular field. There is nothing wrong with going beyond your original plan and settling for plan B or C. Sticking to one plan is good but you never know what lies on the other side. There might be bigger and maybe better opportunities for you.

It’s okay to break the rules and learn more especially if you feel stuck. Flexibility might help you grow strengths you never thought you had. Sometimes careers are not about progression but transformation and if you do something that brings fulfillment to you and helps you pursue your purpose, that will make you feel better.

Don’t Mistake Workplace For Family 

It’s okay to have friends at work but don’t let that get into your head. You are there mainly to work. Don’t get too comfortable and take advantage of the boss’s friendliness or use that not to deliver work before deadlines. Learn how to separate friendship from work. The important thing is to make yourself valuable every day.

Read: Women, Let's Support And Water Each Other