Asking For a Friend | Chapter 47
Advice from Babe to Babe
Ready for the next step in your career? Or, even scarier, being forced to take one? The BWH gurus have affirmations and answers for every workplace woe.
I’ve sat on several search committees and, yes, time in a position is looked at and may raise questions, so I suggest directly addressing it in your cover letter. You can say something along the lines of, “While my most recent position did not last as long as I’d anticipated due to organizational restructuring, I’m eager to continue my work in (whatever field you’re in or whatever motivations you have).” Unfortunately, layoffs happen and it’s not something you should feel the need to hide—be honest with the committee and help them see all the skills and expertise you’ve gained from the positions you’ve been in while you were in them.
–DIANA MORRIS, BABE #182
When I first started searching for jobs after grad school, I was worried I had never been anywhere longer than one-and-a-half years. I think calling it out from the get-go is all you can do. I noted internships, opportunities for growth I couldn’t turn down and graduation as reasons for the end-dates on all of my experiences. Like any perception risk, you have to get in front of it to be able to control the conversation around it. Let them know you’re looking for a place to stay long-term, and you were on track to do that in your most recent role; don’t be afraid to tell them the truth about being let go. I’ve come to realize that being upfront and honest is always your best bet when it comes to irregularities in your job history. If an employer doesn’t want to hire you because of them, then you may not want to work for that employer anyway.
—HILLARY KIRTLAND, CONTRIBUTOR
I’ve always loved the Theodore Roosevelt quote, “Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.” You can’t go wrong by taking a step back and realizing tomorrow could bring new opportunities just as much as it could bring the realization that nothing is changing quite yet. If nothing changes, you need to keep moving forward and growing in your current position. It’s a really sobering thought to realize you don’t want to end up with nothing in your current role by putting all your eggs in the “possible new opportunities” basket. If the offer you’re hoping for shows up, you also need to be prepared to take it. Think about taking on some extra responsibilities in your current role that could help you in the one you might want in the future. That way, you’re showing initiative, ownership and forethought to your current employer, plus gaining skills that could set you up for even better success, should those new opportunities arise.
—HILLARY KIRTLAND, CONTRIBUTOR
I’m a firm believer that if it’s meant to be, it will happen. For now, just recognize you’re doing a great job and your work is being noticed. There’s no shame in jumping at another opportunity if it presents itself, but if you’re happy in your current role there’s also no shame in sticking around if it doesn’t work out. Definitely don’t let it slip to your current employer that you’re pursuing other opportunities and don’t let the excitement of something new keep you from slacking on the job that pays the bills right now. When your next chapter comes along, go confidently in that direction and thank your current employer for your time there. The rest will fall into place. Good luck!
–MORGAN PURVIS, BWH INTERN
Unless she has specifically asked for your opinion, don’t share it. You have no idea what planning she has done outside of what she’s chosen to share with you. If she has asked for your perspective, let her know some of the considerations you would be making if you were in her shoes—not as a list of things she should be doing, but rather a list of things you would do. I can tell you want to be helpful, so don’t insert your opinions in a way that comes across as you questioning her choices and intelligence—just lend a listening ear and offer whatever support she needs as she finalizes and navigates her decisions.
–DIANA MORRIS, BABE #182
This happened with my best friend a few years ago. She quit her stable (but boring) job for a completely different career path at the same time her husband did—with small kids at home. It was completely terrifying and I did not agree at all with her choice. However, I never voiced my opinion on it. Instead, I helped where I could, watching the kids when I was able, handing out her contact information to potential new clients, attending her events whenever possible and generally just being a cheerleader as she chased her dream job. She went through some incredibly hard months and we spent a lot of time on her couch lamenting and worrying. But now she is wildly successful, happy and our friendship is stronger than ever. Your friend probably already knows this is scary and a huge risk. Instead of stating the obvious, just offer yourself up as a constant source of support and a safe place to admit failures.
–SANDY RUSSO, CONTRIBUTOR
I think, similarly to giving relationship advice, this is one of those times when that person is going to have to make that decision and experience the outcome for themselves—whether or not you think they’re ready for it. Hear them out, provide helpful action items if and when you can and cheer the on in whatever they choose to do. They’ll figure out if it was the “right” move in time—and you never know, it might actually turn out to be just that!
–CHELSEA DUDEVOIRE, BWH FOUNDER + CEO
Until Next Week,
—THE BWH ADVICE GURUS
Asking for a Friend is Babes Who Hustle's weekly advice column that asks and answers the work-related questions on all of our minds. Looking for advice and guidance? Hit us with all of your questions below and stay tuned for next Wednesday's edition!