Thursday, November 10, 2011

I am not young enough to know everything: Oscar Wilde

I feel like I’ve been drifting a bit lately, and there are a couple of women whom I greatly respect who seem to have taken it on to set me straight.

Both of these women are incredibly bright and successful in their careers. They know how to be assertive and direct without seeming pushy. They speak with knowledge, experience and authority – and people listen. I listen to them with what’s likely a look of awe and admiration on my face. I want to be able to speak and conduct myself with that certainty, that wisdom. I want to be a commanding but not domineering presence... I want to follow them around and take notes on their every move.

Fortunately for me, both of these women have been very generous in their advice and in taking the time to help me get sorted. Both of them keep telling me I have sold myself short, have wasted time and energy chasing after the wrong things, and have to be much more realistic in my goals and approach.

I certainly cannot do either of them justice in trying to pass on their words of wisdom – and much of it is specific to my complex personal situation – however, most of what they have told me could be summed up in the following two pieces of their repeated advice to me:

1) Value your work. “No-one buys cheap perfume: not because it doesn't smell nice, but because the price suggests it won't. Ditto asking for payment: if you don't set the price high enough, they won't value your work.”

2) Be valued. It is soul-sucking to work with and for people who do not value your work. Find a job that values and respects what you are contributing.

These may seem obvious or even cliché, but they are very true and are things I have needed to hear. And likely will need to hear again.

And yet, the hard thing about taking advice from successful career women though is that while I greatly admire them, being a successful career woman has never before been my goal.

I’m much too old to be having the existential crisis I am currently experiencing.

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