A few months ago, I went to a work event at my job with a friend. I love hearing career coaches speak, and I thought it would be a relaxing afternoon with a friend.
I sat in the audience in the one hour session with Emilie Aries, the Founder & CEO of Bossed Up, who I’ve interviewed on the blog today, with tears in my eyes. Her words, her concepts and her advice about career has never single-handedly resonated with me so much. More than any book, any article…and I had to get to know her better.
I want YOU ALL to see how incredible she is. Take her advice (soak it allllll up) and learn from her. You won’t be disappointed.
Today on the blog, read my interview with Emilie. I can’t wait for you all to take advance of the amazing advice she has to offer. Go ahead and listen to my episode of her podcast when you have a chance.
INTERVIEW WITH EMILIE ARIES, AUTHOR OF BOSSED UP
What’s your experience with burnout been like?
After bouncing back from my own bout of burnout early on in my career, I’ve committed to helping other women avoid the same fate. I launched my training organization and online community, Bossed Up, with the mission of helping women craft happy, healthy, and sustainable careers. We take a results-oriented, research-driven approach to helping women advocate for what they want out of work and life.
Nearly a decade ago, I burnt out before the age of 25, working in what was arguably my dream job. I was the youngest State Director in the nation serving on behalf of newly-elected President Barack Obama. Helping everyday citizens grow their power through community organizing and making their voices heard in Washington. Moreover, advocating on behalf of the people and policies they believed in.
During that same time, however, I lost touch with my own sense of power and agency. I was working all the time. Often, the only time I spent on “fun” was at networking happy hours and political fundraisers. I felt stuck in a toxic relationship. And, had completely lost any semblance of a health and wellness regimen in my life post-college.
Three years in, the work that once got me fired up and ready to go, left me daydreaming about escapist fantasies. I knew then that the way I was working wasn’t going to work for the long-term. That began my exploration into finding a way to pursue a high-ambition career without martyring myself along the way.
Two rocky years later, I’d applied all the research I uncovered in the world of cognitive science, behavioral psychology, and feminist political theory and found myself with a completely new outlook on work and life. I felt a deep need to share what I’d learned about pursuing the path towards sustainable success with everyone and anyone who’d listen. Now I work each and every day to arm individuals with the advocacy skills to get what we want out of work and support workplaces in retaining and developing women.
How can T20S readers advocate succeed at work, without getting burnt out?
One of the biggest skills that it boils down to is being comfortable with assertive communication. This is a topic I speak about endlessly at colleges and universities, companies, and conferences. It’s a game-changer.
Once we realize that drawing and defending boundaries is a critical leadership skills, it becomes something we can hone and develop. Likewise, it’s a skill that benefits us personally and professionally, and no one can really do this for us! We have to be the boss when it comes to drawing our own healthy boundaries.
Ironically, being assertive runs counter to almost everything we’re taught in school. Academic achievement hinges on perfecting, performing, and pleasing skills. All of which set you up to burn out in life after academia.
I describe this shift in my book as getting out of the martyrdom mindset, and it’s a wonderful way to start really leveling up in your career.
You work with a lot of women on career transition. How can women navigate changing careers?
Firstly, we need to recognize just how common this is nowadays. Stop feeling guilty for wanting to completely pivot in our careers. The average worker now holds at least 10 different jobs before the age of forty. Folks are often exploring a variety of fields throughout that timeline, too. In fact, this is such a common problem I started my entire company by launching our signature weekend-long workshop specifically for women navigating career change: Bossed Up Bootcamp!
First, I recommend getting clear on what it is that you want out of your career. This might involve some self-exploration in the form of journaling, networking to explore others’ career paths, or taking time to clarify the difference between your career vs. your lifestyle ambitions.
Then, I’m a big believer in reaching out for informational interviews, attending conferences, and networking your way to your next job opportunity. You might even benefit from taking a bridge job as you make the leap from one industry to the next.
Joining communities of support like the T20s blog and Bossed Up’s online community of courage can be inspiring spaces online to keep gathering information, advice, and encouragement, too!
What’s one thing you want women in their twenties to know about their careers?
I considered my twenties a time for taking big risks and exploring what I really wanted to do with my life. In addition, it’s a wonderful time for asking yourself big existential questions. About why you’re here and what you want to do with your one beautiful and precious life.
Plus, if you’re like the typical twenty-something, you have relatively few financial obligations compared to what might in your future (worrying about kids, a mortgage, and a 401k start weighing on you a bit more in just a few more years), so now is the time to go big or go home. This isn’t a time to fear failure; instead, fear regret. This is a decade to explore yourself and your ambitions, so get busy living.
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What is your book about?
I wrote my book, Bossed Up: A Grown Woman’s Guide to Getting Your Shit Together, to share everything I’ve learned about beating burnout and crafting a career and life I love.
It’s chock full of research-backed advice and inspiring stories from real women in my community who learned to step up as the boss of their lives.