Maggie Stamets is a writer for BUILT BY GIRLS, which prepares the next generation of female and non-binary leaders to step into their power and break into their careers. WAVE is the backbone of BUILT BY GIRLS: it’s a 1:1 matching program that connects high school and college students with top tech professionals across the country. For more information and to sign up check out builtbygirls.com.
They say “new year, new you,” but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take some time to learn from those who have been there.
We asked some of BUILT BY GIRLS trusted WAVE advisors to share a piece of advice that helped them on their professional paths. No matter where you are right now — starting a new job, resting after a harrowing semester, or fending off burnout — there is something in here for you.
On work-life balance
I remember an older person telling me not to obsess over work, but to enjoy life. When you are older you want to look back at all the awesome experiences that you had, which may include work, but it should not be 100% work.
Shevonne Basco, senior program manager at Amazon Web Services
On finding community
"You don't have to do it alone" is the most valuable piece of advice I received, in a world where the lone wolf or burnout-level-independence is glorified. Acknowledging that I couldn't do it all enabled me to learn from others and create relationships that opened the types of doors I couldn't even imagine for myself.
Zoia Kozakov, vice president of product management at Citi
On failing with purpose
Don't be afraid to take risks especially when you're younger. You will fail and it's okay. Dust yourself off, learn from your mistake, and move on!
Abdullah Hatahet, senior engineering manager at Verizon Wireless
On going for it
Pursue challenging opportunities, even if you worry you'll get rejected. If you get truly excited about something like a job that is a level above you currently or a grad school degree at a top school, but you're afraid you won't get it, go for it anyway because you may be pleasantly surprised by the result.
Asya Bashina, director of marketing at LinkSquares
On paying your dues to reach your goal
Sometimes the things you hate doing, will get you closer to the things that you love. This really stuck with me because there might always be aspects of your job that aren't as enjoyable.
Keep your long term vision in mind. Keep your long term goals in mind. Understand that you are enjoying the highs and lows of the process to get there. If you don't know what that goal is, take some time and reflect, so you can keep yourself motivated and grounded!
Moriah Connolly, process engineer at Amazon
On asking questions
I had a manager that was very open to asking questions to better understand projects and contexts. Before him, it seemed like people went into meeting nodding their heads. From his example, I always ask clarifying questions and I never fear judgement.
Jasmine Alceus, transformation manager at Verizon
On putting experiences first
Early on, I wanted to take a three-week vacation to go to Machu Picchu. But a large project was coming in and I was concerned about losing an opportunity. One of my first bosses laughed and said, "Work will always be here."
She was right.
There were — and will be — other opportunities, and I've been able to create some of my own by building trust with my business colleagues. So just go do what you want.
CK, international tax manager for AWS at Amazon
If you’re interested in becoming a WAVE mentor or mentee and having discussions like this one, check out the BUILT BY GIRLS WAVE program for upcoming opportunities in the new year.
Read more information and tips in our Advice section