It’s no secret to my family that I’m a huge “Morning Joe” fan. I especially enjoy Mika Brzezinski because she’s about my age and has many similar opinions and observations.
One thing that I find quite meaningful and useful are her segments regarding the “Know Your Value” movement that she founded.
As a woman in her early 50s who’s been searching for the “perfect” job for longer than I want to admit, I have experienced a lot of rejections, many of which I believe are rooted in some form of bias against older and more experienced women. It seems counterintuitive that you would dismiss the potential of adding a team member who brings a wealth of knowledge and skills from a lifetime in the workforce, but I’ve seen it happen. I’ve followed up on positions I’ve wanted to find out they’ve become filled by people half my age with sparse LinkedIn profiles.
In my search, I have become quite the expert in salary ranges, job descriptions, company cultures, and HR practices. I know what’s fair, what’s realistic, what’s inefficient, what’s transparent, and with more than 100 interviews under my belt, I can more easily sense both good fits and red flags. That being said, experiences and expectations can change your perspective. I strongly believe that clear, direct, empathic, and honest communication will always be the fastest route to fostering meaningful relationships and to solving conflicts or problems.
Over the past few months I’ve had to re-evaluate my career objectives, my strengths, my weaknesses, what motivates me, what blocks me, what inspires me, what irritates me. I’ve had to think about what I’m worth, what I value, what I offer, what I need.
Making a lot of money has never been something important to me. Rather, I need to feel like I’m getting something useful done well and, more importantly, that I’m making a positive impact on someone else’s life. There are so many roles that can achieve those goals – from serving a cup of coffee to directing a road race. I’ve also learned over time to get out of my comfort zone and look for ways to have an impact that didn’t initially seem like viable or feasible options or opportunities.
For me, it’s equally important to demonstrate my skills and work ethic as it is to make an authentic connection. When that happens and someone appreciates both your efforts and your vulnerability, it’s magical. To be seen as someone with both talent and likability is priceless and empowering. I will never take that feeling for granted even if things don’t always work out the way I had wanted or anticipated.
I know I’m valuable and it can be frustrating when bureaucracy or bias blocks my desired path, but as a long distance runner who’s endured many setbacks, I will always strive to finish the race and, more importantly, to enjoy the journey to the next one.
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