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Career Guide: 6 Career Lessons We Learned From Kate White’s Book ‘I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This’

By Elana Lyn Gross — October 27, 2014

6 career lessons we learned from Kate White’s book ‘I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This’

Career lessons we learned from Kate White's book 'I Shouldn't Be Telling You This'

I love Kate White’s book I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: How to Ask for the Money, Snag the Promotion, and Create the Career You Deserve. I led a book club session on the book and highlighted so many sections. I loved it so much that I gave it to my sister when she graduated from college. It is an incredibly helpful career advice book that, as an added bonus, is funny, engaging, and fun to read. Kate is a New York Times bestselling author and she was the editor in chief of Cosmopolitan magazine for fourteen years. When I saw that Ellevate Network was hosting a networking event and workshop with Kate White, I immediately bought a ticket.

Here are the six key takeaways from the event:

Go big or go home: Kate said that it’s not enough to do what you are told to do, you have to go for the maximum so that you can set yourself apart from the pack. You have to constantly ask yourself, “When was the last time I made my boss say ‘wow.’” Always ask yourself if you’ve done the four B’s. Can it be bolder, bigger, better, or more badass? Don’t be afraid to break the rules.

Stop worrying what other people think: Women get tangled up in this more than men do. We ruminate and play a negative soundtrack so it is important to change the mantras we tell ourselves. We are more likely to be afraid to ask for what we want because we don’t want to be perceived to be entitled, selfish, or “not a team player.” There is a power in asking for more. As Kate says, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Drain the swamp as you fight the alligators: People get so caught up in the day to day that we forget to drain the swamp. People get so busy doing their jobs that they don’t think about the big picture and the future. Book one hour every week for draining the swamp. Think about the big picture, look at data, reach out to mentors and sponsors, go to networking events, and think about your career trajectory.

Think about work life integration: Ask yourself if the balance is working for you. Ask if there is anything missing. You have to be the bossy pants of your personal life and your professional life. Kate would sit to think about this for an hour every Saturday with a notebook and coffee. It’s how she realized that she wanted to write mystery novels. Kate said she owns her career and has made it work for her, not the other way around. She enjoys sustained success and has savored it.

Ask for more: Talk to your boss a few months before the raises usually go out. If you wait until raises are offered, you’re too late because they’ve already set the budget and allocated money. Say something like, “I know you’re going to start thinking about raises and I’d like to review all of the things I’ve accomplished this year.” Be prepared for the meeting and let your boss know your big accomplishments. Don’t think to yourself, “I know they know I’m doing a good job,” or “I know they’ll give me a raise,” you have to ask. Don’t be afraid to ask for more and don’t assume that they’ll give it to you if you don’t ask. One huge mistake in asking for a raise is making it about you. It has to be about what you’re achieving and how you’ve added value. It can’t be about moving apartments, needing more money, wanting to go on a trip. It sounds silly, but that does happen!

Mistakes millenials make: Millenials are so interested in going big that they lose the critical experiences learned from staying at one job for a long time. It’s also important to think about what’s good for the organization not just for yourself. Let people know that you know what’s best for the organization and that you care about making that happen.

This article was originally published on The Preppy Post Grad

About Author

Elana is the author of the career advice and lifestyle blog, The Preppy Post Grad. She also writes for publications such as The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Levo League, Likeable Media and Your Coffee Break. When she is not writing, she can be found taking long walks in Central Park, spending time with friends and family, bike riding, and enjoying all NYC has to offer.

View all Elana Lyn Gross posts.

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