“… it’s better to work highly focused for short periods of time, with breaks in between, than to be partially focused for long periods of time. Think of it as a sprint, rather than a marathon. You can push yourself to your limits for short periods of time, so long as you have a clear stopping point. And after a rest, you can sprint again.”
A recent Girls in Tech/Facebook meetup about learning from your career mistakes was full of actionable pieces of advice, particularly on finding and keeping good mentors. Here are some of the best quotes of the night:
On the importance of having mentors:
“Build a network of women. You don’t have to be on your own.” -AT&T’s Amanda Stent
“Do your homework in approaching a mentor - don’t ask someone just based on reputation” -Tweeted by @AmyVernon
“If you don’t feel comfortable with your mentor, maybe that person isn’t the right mentor. “ -Bloomberg’s Catherine Hui
On being mentored:
“If you go to therapy, you don’t lie to your shrink. Same philosophy applies to mentors. Be honest with them.” - Nikki Stevens (@drnikki)
Who are your mentors? How did you find them? How important is it to you to have a mentor?
(Photos by M. Cecelia Bittner and Jessica Hullinger)
“Most people want to behave in ways that are consistent with their self-image as competent, effective, and honest human beings. Yet, even when they are fully committed to acting according to their best intentions, they often reach outcomes that bear little resemblance to their initial goals.”
Bloomberg’s head of technology for Tradebook Equity Catherine Hui handed out tons of great career tips at a recent Girls in Tech/Facebook meetup. Here, some of the best:
“Acknowledge your mistakes and you’ll be fine.”
“It’s not about making a mistake - it’s about how you handle it.”
“The sky is going to fall at some point. The key is how you handle the post-mortem.”
“Find someone who has your best interest in mind - that’s a true mentor.”
Don’t be shy. People want to help you.
Meet with your mentors/members of your network regularly.
Choose your mentor wisely.
Have at least one or two awesome geeks in your network of mentors.
On who she hires:
What blogs do they follow? What is their favorite news source? Does this person have a natural curiosity for what’s happening?
Can this person learn fast?
People don’t necessarily need to have a tech background- but they should have communication skills, be a team player, and most importantly they should have common sense/strong problem solving skills.
And finally, these gems:
“We [women] need to learn how to ask for things … Men never wait to ask.”
“I didn’t become who I am by accident. I struggled through the whole journey.”
By M. Cecelia Bittner, Jessica Hullinger
“We always seem to view our role models as if they’ve made perfect choices every step of the way. If only that were really true!”
Facebook’s NYC headquarters was packed to the brim Tuesday night with career-minded techies looking to gain insight from a panel of some of the tech industry’s leading ladies. The chat was organized by Girls in Tech, a global organization “focused on the engagement, education and empowerment of powerful, influential women in technology and entrepreneurship,” and was moderated by Kickstarter’s Bethany Sumner.
The conversation originally focused on career mistakes, but veered to cover everything from mentorship to sexism in the workplace, and left guests with a heap of actionable tips.
Who was on the panel:
- AT&T’s Amanda J. Stent
- Facebook’s Goranka Bjedov
- Bloomberg’s Catherine Hui
- Techie/startup founder Nikki Stevens, @drnikki
What they said:
“I didn’t become who I am by accident. I struggled through the whole journey.” -Catherine Hui (Bloomberg)
“Don’t say ‘no’ out of fear. Say ‘yes’ to yourself. Know that you are worth it and that you can do it.” -Amanda J. Stent (AT&T)
“If you’re playing World of Warcraft 25 hours a week, you’re probably hiding from something in your life.” -Goranka Bjedov (Facebook)
“Make mistakes. Just don’t make the same mistake five times.” -Bjedov
“Until I fail empirically, I am good enough to do the job.” -Nikki Stevens (formerly Refinery29)
What’s the biggest career mistake you’ve ever made, and how did you overcome it? Looking back, what piece of advice would you give your younger self? Tell us on Twitter with #FCadvice.
“If there’s anything my mom taught me, it’s that there’s a big difference between being given something and knowing you’ve earned it yourself by working hard, one day at a time.”
“The first thing I remember learning from my mother was ‘Be like a duck: Calm on the surface but paddling like hell underneath.’ She used to keep this on our fridge along with another slogan that said, ‘Don’t get mad, get even; live long enough to be a problem to your kids.’”
Happy Mother’s Day! Advice from the moms of today’s successful business leaders
“If I were going to whisper something into my younger self, I would just say, ‘Keep your head down, work hard, and listen to whosever is ahead of you because you’re going to learn something from them.’ And that’s kinda what I did.’”
Here are 3 ways to make the most out of getting the ax from Amy Shouse’s Lose Your Job, Find Yourself
Shouse recommends a solid, out-loud “I Got Fired” to jumpstart the processing, followed by cascades of journaling.
Call it a “blue sky” moment: Make a list of everywhere you’d want to work. Regardless of of pre-requisites, catalog the gigs that would “make your heart sing.”
Shouse recommends a bout of career-focused self-inquiry: “Who am I? What do I want to do? Initially, these questions bounced off the walls, but after creating and following my plan, I got clarity.”
Want more? Check out Moving On: How I Found Happiness After Getting Fired.
[Image: Flickr user Rick Harris]
When Heidi Allstop was a junior at the University of Wisconsin, she found herself struggling with the stress of college life. So Allstop called the university’s counseling center, only to be told there was a two-week wait for an appointment. “I thought, I just want to talk to peers, people who get it, who aren’t gonna sugarcoat their advice, they’re just gonna understand me and hear me out and tell me what they think I should do,” she remembers, and sitting outside the library, watching her fellow students walk by—heads down, earbuds in—she was struck with an epiphany: “So many of these people are going through the same thing as I am, but we have no way to connect,” she says. “What if there was a place online?”
Spill, her anonymous peer-support network, was born in that moment. Users “spill” their problem at StudentSpill.com; their message is screened by a team trained in crisis prevention, then sent to student responders who post a reply (also screened) within 24 hours.