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Reflection on IWD: What do you wish you knew 10 years ago in your career?

By Helen Anglin-Labiak, Senior Communications Executive

Mar 28th 2022

As part of International Women’s Day, we asked the team, “What do you know now in your career, which you wish you knew 10 years ago?”

Trust your instincts and take opportunities

Georgia Wallhead, "It's okay to change your mind on what you want to do, you don't need a solid plan and it doesn't need to make sense to others if it makes sense to you. 

You don't need to know the next step. Just try your best at every stage as this will open more doors for you, and put you in a better position when you do decide your next step."

Stina Slingo, “Be open to change. You can have an end goal in mind that plays to your passions and strengths when you first start on your career journey. But both your personal and professional life has a funny way of affecting it on the way, from taking it in new directions to changes in the market. 

If you keep an open mind and adapt it along the way, you will be much more likely to weather any setbacks and reach it, whatever it will end up being when you get there.”

Sharon Evans,  “Good opportunities don't come along all the time — sometimes you have to make them for yourself and it isn't always enough to work hard, do well and rely on being noticed and rewarded. 

Sounds obvious in some ways but when something that interests you pops up - it’s good to think "how would I feel if I never had this opportunity again". The good news is that as you get more senior you have opportunities in a different way — to give others a boost through mentoring, coaching, promotion or other support. Don't forget to do that as you rise up the ladder!” 

Linnea Viola, “Trust your intuition—whether something feels off, right or wrong—trust that you know what's right for you. Being scared of making mistakes or not being good enough is usually a sign that you're on the right track. Growth never comes without struggle.

Mishka Stalham, “Take the risk, believe in yourself and it doesn't matter if something doesn't work out. I was so afraid of failing or making a wrong life decision that I missed out on good opportunities that have come my way!

I would tell my younger self to grab every opportunity with both hands and go for it! It all works out in the end!” 

Believing and being true to yourself

Jennifer Gould, “People don't give praise just to be nice, or because they have to. If you're getting it, you've done something to earn it. So own it. Other people believe in you, so you should start believing in yourself.”

Rebecca Shears, “Self belief. Confidence in myself and my abilities has hugely improved my performance at work, but it has taken me many years to get there. Being confident enough to step up and take the next challenge is an attribute all younger women would benefit from.”

Janice Tong, "Being liked does not equal being respected, being effective, or being trusted. Being liked by others at all cost would lead you astray. Being true to yourself, being firm with what you stand for, and being focussed on learning, on the other hand, won't."

Hannah Holt, "You do not need to be "one of the guys" to get things done or make progress.

There will be pressure to accept toxic patriarchal cultures but standing your ground and calling out behaviours will help you and the other women around you."

Gabrielle Gleeson, "You don't have to act like the boys do, to dress a certain way or to have certain interests (like football!) to have a successful career. You will succeed by being yourself and having the self-belief to own that. 

If you see bad behaviour, call it out loudly. Don't be afraid to walk away, try something else when you need to. You can't influence everything or make a work situation/role better when it's outside your control - sometimes the right thing is to find something new where your skills are valued."

Qin Su, “Having the courage and toolset to have difficult conversations is essential to a positive working relationship. There are tried and tested ways to have difficult conversations which would result in positive impact and moving things forward. 

Not knowing those tools and methods led me to avoid difficult conversations in the past even when I felt uncomfortable about something others said or how I was treated - this however only built up resentment internally and over time it always manifests in one way or another.” 

Know your worth

Helen Anglin-Labiak, "Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself and ask for what you deserve. If you’re in an environment that doesn’t respect you or pay you well enough, look for somewhere that you are valued. Never underestimate your worth, both professionally and personally."

Liz Afolabi, “Don't be afraid to use your voice to call out toxic behaviours and don't stay around when someone or something no longer serves you. You're worth far more than you realise and you/your voice matter.”

Anon, "Know your worth, and set your boundaries around that. Don't put up with behaviour you don't like, and call it out when you see it.

Don't try to please everybody all the time: it's not possible and it won't make you happy. Take some risks! It's fine to make a choice when you're not 100% sure of the outcome. Trust your instincts.

Arianna Recchia,
“Believe in yourself and your worth. Don't let other people define it and try to be less of a person-pleaser because you won't be able to please everyone. You're strong and you can do this! Trust the process.”

Reflection on IWD: What do you wish you knew 10 years ago in your career?

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