21 February 2010


(image via fffound)
I know some of you are working senoritas. I know there are times when you deal with criticism, feedback, and the like. I know you run into snappy colleagues and hairy decisions. I know you have annual reviews. What I don't know is how you handle these situations.

How do you juggle professionalism and authenticity? How do you constructively respond to suggestions, criticism and the struggle for making a way for yourself without plowing over someone else? Also, (though I seriously hesitate to admit this) how you respectfully honor the criticism and not let it reflect your character and work ethic as a whole?

All and all, I am really curious, how, as a young, aspiring professional, with strong character, dedicated work ethic, and challenging, professional goals, I am supposed to stand out and "stay in line" at the same time. I am hopeful to get some feedback from you, mostly because I trust your opinions and your experiences. And I am seeking some support around my own.

If you're up to the dialogue, I'd love to hear from you. This is a new territory and a new topic, but I'm willing to go there; willing to open up and shed sunlight on some parts that might be trying to quiver in shame. Are you willing to go there with me?  I'd like to start a conversation, so either leave your thoughts in the comments section, and/or your email address, or feel free to email me stephanie DOT tabb AT gmail DOT com


Lauren said...

I've been thinking about a lot of the same issues lately. I am not sure what the right way to handle it all is but I typically handle everything (the good, the bad and the ugly) with tears, which is something I'd like to learn how to change. I noticed this year that I also have really been stifling my voice when it comes to work stuff, in terms of things I want or deserve. I am one of those people who will put up with nearly anything in order to not rock the boat (but I am trying to get over that!)

Not sure if this gets you to where you are thinking of going, but this is what came to mind when I read your post!


Laura Neutz Holmes said...

I am also a young female professional - and while I certainly do not know it all, the last few years have been enlightening. Here are a few things that I have found rather helpful: 1. Be yourself. No really, be YOURSELF! There are times when the pressure to "fit in" and "be professional" is overwhelming. Just remember that you can be professional and respectable, and still be you. 2. Be confident. Part of this is embracing yourself and knowing the value you bring to the table. Others (including your bosses) feed off of how you feel about yourself. If you think you are awesome, they probably will, too! 3. Be an expert. Find your niche and be the go-to person for that need. It can be as simple as being the person who has their finger on the community pulse and keeps the office updated, or as complex as being the super-complicated software guru. You'll stand out and be appreciated for what you offer to the group.

Thanks for the post - I am looking forward to reading the comments and gaining some new insight!

Jessie said...

Great post, Stephanie. I love the "How to work better" list. I am printing it out to put in my cube. :)

Everyday I go to work with the goal to "do the best I can." I try to help my colleagues and collaborate as much as possible. I ALWAYS take my lunch break! It is so crucial to have some time away from everything to eat and relax or meet friends or take a walk. I do not take things personally. And even though sometimes it's hard, I try to make everyday FUN!

Thanks again for the post and I can't wait to read other comments!

Kayla said...

I have only been out of University for two years and I have been working at the same place since then. Most of the people I work with are older so it is hard to be perceived as a young professional. I have found that being confident is key. Also when meeting external clients dress professionally, but try to cultivate a friendship, sometimes being too professional comes across as being uninterested. But this might depend on your field.

In my work place I try to find gaps in what we are doing or offering that I am interested in a figure out how I can make it happen. For instance I started a monthly lunch and learn series.

Great post! I look forward to reading other people's inputs!

stephanie alaine said...

wow, the comment you all are leaving are more eloquent and more on target then my post! thank you...i share a lot of what you've expressed and would love to keep the conversation going.

i'm so with lauren in the sense that i find myself only ending up in tears, esp at the first sight of criticism, and i don't want to say "it's them, not me!" i was to absorb and learn and respond from a strong solid place (as i do in a lot of OTHER components of life) the confident, BE YOURSELF message really hit home here. when/how does a person shift from crumbling to standing tall?

thanks for your feedback, i am loving it and it's really making me think deeper into this topic!

erin said...

hmmm, good question. it's something i definitely need to work on. i tend to get defensive and my first reaction to stress/anger is tears, too (glad i'm not the only one!), even when it's just something small. i just try to take a deep breath and tell myself that i won't always be at the bottom. the hard part (as you know) is creating the plan and path to make that happen. i also remind myself that it's pretty important for work relationships to be at least cordial, even if i'm not fond of the people i work with because it might end up being helpful for the future. believe me, i think about that one every day!