A letter to my teenage self

I was taken aback by the direct, yet calm tone of my dad’s voice “ask for the order”.  I was 13 and his words were the first insight into my career potential as he told me to be clear about what I wanted. I felt a rush of possibility; action was intrinsically risky, but the way dad put it, there was freedom in simplicity.

With a few orders under my belt by the age of 16, I was firmly of the view that speaking on the phone to my friend Naomi should qualify for inclusion as an HSC subject. Anyone who overheard our conversations agreed I was gifted, solely based on time spent practising. Nothing was off limits as we mapped out the route to becoming an independent woman. Going back through books we’d read and tracking down post-it notes of towns with delectable food was the basis for our travel plan. Media, history and art was on the study list. Family took centre stage in our grand plan and we weren’t certain of the detail about how we’d “do it all” as career women. An army of support and mega bucks was a good starting point.

Not interested in a simulacrum of Utopia, I set to work on my inner life and devoured the work of self-help gurus like Oprah and Deepak Chopra who explored the correlation between a conscious existence and happiness. Oprah is a boss when it comes to empathy, pointing out strengths and identifying the person in the room trying to instil negative self-doubt.

These days you won’t find a self-help book by my bed, however I’ve learned a woman’s career is like a relationship in that breath and time is our ally. Breaking the glass ceiling rarely occurs through sudden force. As the glass becomes increasingly thin, one day a simple tap is all it takes.

In the spirit of International Women’s Day, here’s 10 work hacks which will set you on a path to career success. Or at the very least – you’ll be kinder to yourself.

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  1. Comparing yourself to any other soul is a futile exercise. First of all, there’s a good chance it will give your self- esteem a light roasting. Second, do you know the set of circumstances which led to the person, who is not you damn it, landing the job of their dreams? The real you will go farther than a version of an amazing someone else.
  2. Laugh.
  3. Be wary of the “OK for now” job. We’ve all been there to pay the rent and the key is to execute your work with the same level of passion and detail as you would your “job of 10 years’ time”.
  4. Your ability to change will define you. The impact of the coronavirus globally is one example where businesses are having to change their plans and evolve quickly. Engage and be part of a creative solution when the challenges are real, and autopilot won’t suffice.
  5. Have a thorough knowledge about pay in your industry and ask the question, “Is there a gender pay gap?” The Workplace Gender Equality Agency calculates the gap is 13.9%, meaning a female takes home $242.90 less a week than a man. As a community of women, we can ask boards to be transparent when it comes to the gender pay gap.
  6. Signing off like a queen. The time between your resignation letter and walking out of the office one last time can be hard, as your mind inevitably wanders to the next opportunity. Finish how you started – with enthusiasm and your signature style.
  7. If you’re genuinely sick, don’t overthink it and take the day off as sick leave.
  8. Find a job where the days fly. When I reach the end of my shift presenting news for KIIS 1065, it often feels like 30 minutes!
  9. Being kind and knowing how to read a balance sheet doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive.
  10. We’re told the world is becoming increasingly complicated and yet a 13-year-old girl can hold the answers by simply asking for the order.

Today is International Women’s Day.

An equal world is an enabled world. How will you help forge a gender equal world?

Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.

iHeartRadio is celebrating International Women’s Day by showcasing podcasts made by, and for, women: 

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