Our Best Career Advice of 2021 So Far

Our Best Career Advice of 2021 So Far
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To forge a career is to accept a life of constant learning, which means always being open to soaking up the wisdom of those with greater insight. Though we’re only halfway through 2021, we’ve encountered and shared so much potentially life-changing career advice this year — a year during which the continuing pandemic has made many reexamine what they think about work-life balance and how they imagine the arcs of their careers — That we’re summing up the best of it here, at the halfway point.

Recharge the right way after quitting a job you hate

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Everyone needs to recharge after leaving a job that occupied your mind for 40+ hours a week. But what about when you’re closing the door on a job you loathed? If you’re going to take a sabbatical (and make it worthwhile), you have to do it in the right way, accounting for any hiccups you might encounter along the way. Budget accordingly, take some time to pursue new learning opportunities, and don’t be surprised if your leave stretches out longer than anticipated. (Read the full post here.)

Use ‘self-determination theory’ to motivate others

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This one applies to careers but also maybe raising kids, or coaching a sports team, or any other context that resonates: You have to give people the tools necessary to thrive if you want them to thrive, which involves invoking an innate sense of relatedness, autonomy, and competence as they do their job — or even perform basic tasks around the house. This the thrust of self-determination theory, which can be a transformative way to motivate those around you. (Read the full post here.)

If you feel you’ve ‘failed up’ take the opportunity to help others

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It’s rare that anyone who’s scaled the professional ranks will have the self-awareness to think their success might be undeserved, but those of us with a modicum of self-awareness might be familiar with this internal struggle. If you feel like you’ve somehow “failed upwards,” you can alleviate much of the guilt that comes with it by helping people around you benefit from your newfound authority — especially younger employees who haven’t been afforded the same opportunities as you. (Read the full post here.)

Use jealousy to your advantage at work

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It’s bound to happen at some point in your career: Despite your honest efforts, you find yourself craving the success or recognition a coworker has achieved, and growing envious of them as a result. You don’t have to let this feeling fester, however — and you can even use it to your advantage, once you accept that fact that there’s a good chance you really admire the person more than anything else. (Read the full post here.)

Leave a brutally honest out-of-office message

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Screw the niceties, not to mention the pressure to constantly be scouring your inbox when you should really be on the beach or otherwise vegetating, and away from the stress of work. Tell people attempting to get in touch that you will absolutely under no circumstances be checking email until you’re back on the clock. And even when you are, they might still have to wait for a response to their message. (Read the full post here.)

Argue with your manager without risking your job by mirroring their conversational style

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Every now and then, you need top push back against your boss’s decisions and instructions, even if you aren’t working for a nightmare of a micromanager. But you want to do it in a way that isn’t overly confrontational, and that means tailoring the conversation to meet your boss’s communication style. If you accomplish this, you may reap the rewards. (Read the full post here.)

Ditch the idea that you need a ‘dream job’ to be happy at work

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There’s an industry of career experts and motivational speakers selling the notion that everything in your life is leading the way to your dream job, if only you keep searching for it. But actually finding such a state of nirvana is fleetingly rare in the working world — and luckily, you don’t need to buy into this idea of the perfect gig to be happy at the job you do have.  Focusing on the professional and personal improvement you’ll invariably experience over the course of a career — and savouring those victories — will help you avoid getting trapped in this misleading mindset. (Read the full post here.)

How to Tell If Your Company’s Pride Campaign Is Bullshit

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Corporate solidarity often rings hollow, and showings of support for causes such as Pride are often nothing more than calculated P.R. If you want to know how your company and its leaders really feel about social justice, or if they care at all, look into what causes it might donate money to, or how it treats various LGBTQ or BIPOC employees. (Read the full post here.)

Ask the right questions at your next job interview

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A job interview isn’t an interrogation — it’s a conversation that enables you, the interviewee, to ask as many questions as you’d like too. To that end, you should ask targeted questions the next time you’re interviewing for a job: about the flow of the workday, and what job demands, and the company culture, and even your own post-interview chances of landing the job. If answering any of these questions makes your interviewers uncomfortable, that should tell you something about the place you’re applying to. (Read the full post here.)

Unionize your workplace

Graphic: Elena Scotti (Photos: Getty Images) Graphic: Elena Scotti (Photos: Getty Images)

If you only take one piece of career advice away from this list, make it this one. Because the most reliable way to make your working days better and more tolerable — and to give yourself a sense of security and solidarity that will bolster your courage as you pursue your career goals — is by working for a company at which you know your coworkers have your back. (Read the full post here.)

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