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Chelsea shares the rules we typically think of as “career” advice, which actually lead you to improve yourself as a person -- no matter what your field or position may be. Looking to boost your career? Check out this video: https://youtu.be/Y0m_Pcr1Rf8.

Thank you to Varidesk for sponsoring this video! To learn more and get your own, click here: http://www.varidesk.com/TheFinancialDiet

Based on an article by Summer Rylander: https://thefinancialdiet.com/5-workplace-success-tips-that-can-apply-to-any-field-or-position/

Watch more of The Financial Diet hosted by Chelsea Fagan here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD30V46E07RR99cC0gCjKUbt-BKoDUcnc

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Hey guys, it's Chelsea from The Financial Diet. And this week's video is sponsored by VeryDesk. And this week, I wanted to talk to you guys about the professional advice that's actually useful no matter what you do, and in all areas of your life outside of just your career. There's a lot of professional advice out there that's pretty focused on a specific type of work or a specific industry. And it's always helpful to get things that are super specific to what you do and what you're looking for, but it's important to remember that a lot of what informs professional advice generally, especially around the kind of soft skills. It's really just about how to present yourself as a person, and sometimes it's easier to take this professional advice when we remember that it's not just about the actual hours we're sitting at the office, it's about learning how to curate how we come off to people and how we receive people. Because so much of your professional advancement often just comes down to, "I really like that person," And so much of what can hold you back our fears that are more social than they really are professional, so the more we can think about them in the broader context of our lives, and not just limited to the times that we're sitting in front of a computer, or wherever we happen to work, the more useful this advice will be to us. So, without further ado, here are five pieces of professional advice that will make you a better person.

Number one is, don't be afraid to ask questions; unless they're bad questions. How many times have you prefaced a question, even a very legitimate question, with "sorry to bug you" or "sorry, I'm so annoying, I have so many questions" or basically just excusing yourself for wanting to learn, especially if you're a woman, probably a lot? And this is such a shame because asking questions shows that we're curious, and we're engaged, and we want to take the time to do things. Well, now, obviously, there are going to be times when you're asking questions because you weren't really paying attention, or you're asking questions which you already have the access to answer, or just walking Google, but provided that the question is a thoughtful one and is aiming to help you do better you should never ever apologize for asking it. And in most cases, it's better to ask than to do something without quite knowing what you're doing and deal with the repercussions. So if you are asking these thoughtful questions, you should never ever apologize for it and should be confident and frankly remind yourself that the world would be a place if more people were inclined to ask good questions. But when it comes to bad questions, as I mentioned before, any question that you could answer yourself, or already have the answer to, or have asked a bunch of times is generally speaking a bad question. And those are the questions that lead people to feel frustrated or annoyed or like they don't want to take the time to deal with your annoying [ __ ] questions. Because, most of the time, bad questions are just rooted in laziness, you'd rather bug someone else than take the 30 seconds it would take to Google it. Becoming thoughtful and unashamed about asking questions is not only a great way to understand the work you do better, it's actually a great way to bond with the people that you work with, especially those above you. It shows that level of engagement and allows them to be a mentor but generally speaking in life. Becoming a master at not just knowing what is a good and bad question, but being totally unafraid and unembarrassed to ask the good questions, makes you a generally better person. It shows humility, that you don't pretend to know things that you don't or breeze past what might be a complicated solution. It shows that you're listening to people and that you take their advice seriously. And it shows that you're not afraid to be curious, so both professionally and in life. Becoming a master of questions is something you want to do ASAP.

Number two is not being shy about admitting when you don't know something. This is one of those things that really frustrates me about the brand of feminism that's all about women needing to become more tough and less traditionally feminine in the workplace. Because, often, the characteristics that are more associated with traditional femininity in the workplace are things like humility and communicative 'no sand listening and teamwork, and women are more likely to admit when they don't know something, and often we frame this as a bad thing. But being blindly confident and pretending to know more than you do. Although it can occasionally pay off, for some people who can really bluff well doesn't make you better at your job or in life in the long term. And as we live in a world where it's increasingly common for everyone to feel compelled to give their opinion about everything on places like social media. Taking a step back and being able to say, "I don't really know that much about this," is an extremely underrated quality in the context of the workplace. Not being afraid to say when you don't understand something is an opportunity to get better at it, and to not make dumb mistakes. Because, as some of you may have experienced, inflating what you may know about something in a professional context can get you in serious trouble in the long term if you're ever called on it. Getting comfortable with saying, "I don't know," also means that you have greater confidence in yourself because you don't have to pretend to be great at everything in order to feel like you deserve to be there. Part of being new at a job means learning as you go; and there's nothing shameful about that. And when it comes to being a better person, being willing to take a step back and admit when something isn't necessarily your lane or something you're super informed on means that you can let the conversation be led by someone who is more experienced. It shows that you're more willing to learn and adapt, and frankly often makes you more pleasant to be around than someone who feels compelled to pretend to be an expert on everything. Especially women who are often taught the value of "faking it until you make it," sometimes it's better not to fake it. Particularly when it comes to stuff where you have no idea what you're doing. Do you want your surgeon to be faking it until he or she makes it? I don't.


Number three is owning your mistakes. Now, this is another thing that women are often chastised about; that we're too quick to apologize in the workplace. And sometimes, yes, there can be an overabundance of sorry's or excuse me for justifying words. Like, for example, when you're asking a totally legitimate question that you have no reason to apologize for, but frankly, sometimes the workplace could use more apologies in the form of sincere, concise, and clear ownership of when you've made a mistake. You do not want to be known as the person in the office who is always finding excuses or blaming others when things go wrong. Yes, sometimes there are defenses for what you may have messed up on, but often you're not being put on trial because mistakes happen. And what really matters is being able to demonstrate that you are someone who is capable of taking ownership and responsibility of a project and frankly, if you have people working under you, often that means owning their mistakes too. You want the buck to stop with you, especially when it's your own buck. For example, let's say you were supposed to include some specific data sets in a presentation that you're making. And when it comes time to give the presentation, they're not there, saying something like, "Oh I'm so sorry, my mistake. I will make sure to get those in there by end of day" and resend it. Is so much better than saying, "oh god I'm not sure what happened, I must have forgotten it," "I misplaced it," or "this is why it was wrong" no one gives a [ __ ] why it was wrong, they just want it to be right. And again, mistakes will happen, but being able to quickly and productively own them and move on from them with clear solutions is what makes you competent. And even when it is someone else's fault, throwing them under the bus isn't a professional move. If you clearly state the problem, and the sequence of events, anyone paying attention will be able to understand what happened without you pointing your finger, and saying, "well he didn't do what he was supposed to do." And in life, just like in the professional realm, mistakes are inevitable. And in the personal realm. Often, they can end up hurting people's feelings or making them feel slighted. And just like at work, the reasons why mistakes happen don't really matter; yes, you can sometimes provide contextualizing information. But it's much better to acknowledge fault to apologize and to find solutions if you drop the ball on picking your friend up from the airport, for example. You don't need to say it's because you totally forgot to set your alarm and then, your roommate who is supposed to wake you up also didn't do the backup wake-up because he went to go meet up with his girlfriend unexpectedly and bought- no, just offer to reimburse them for an Uber, it is extremely adult and chic to be able to own your mistakes.

Number four is not being afraid of setting boundaries. Now I should make this disclaimer that if you are working in a job where there is just no respect for professional boundaries, you're expected to be available at all times, and your work-life balance is being constantly thrown out of whack, that's a problem with the job, and you have to look into ways of finding a new one. But provided you work at a job where there is a reasonable expectation of boundaries, it's up to you to decide how much they are really enforced. If you start responding to emails late at night or on weekends, that creates a precedent. If you start thanklessly taking on other people's work, that creates a precedent. If you end up working on your vacation days even though they've been marked on the calendar for months, that creates a precedent, and you really have no one to blame but yourself when people start acting on that precedent. And it's not just you; if you're someone who shows up super early to the office, works straight through lunch at your desk, and stays late, that creates expectations for the people around you, everyone hates that [ __ ]. Ultimately, a job is a job, and the more you let it dominate and bleed into areas of your life where it has no place being, the harder it will be to stop that. And similarly, in your personal life, becoming very good yet still obviously respectful and compassionate about setting boundaries for yourself is a huge alpha move. We can often end up in relationships where we give much, much more than we're taking, where we're being taken advantage of. Where there are unreasonable expectations about our emotional or time availabilities, or you feel like your time, autonomy or efforts aren't being respected; and you are not obligated to put up with that. Clearly saying, to someone, "Hey I know we're both really busy, but you've canceled a few times at the last minute on plans we had; and that really makes me feel like my time isn't as important as yours," is totally valid. And can often be the difference between maintaining a friendship that feels like a frustration; and either getting that friendship to a healthy place or moving on from it in an adult way. Over the years, I've had a few such relationships that have ended amicably because we just weren't in sync with what we both expected out of that relationship. And I felt as though my boundaries were not being respected. And though I may have many flaws as a person, being super clear about having grown-up conversations about the state of relationships is not one of them. And I can say with absolute clarity that having those conversations doesn't just help fix those relationships it gives more space and more energy to the relationships where your boundaries are respected, and your efforts are reciprocated setting boundaries is incredibly important, at work and in life.


And lastly, number five is making the most of opportunities, even the less cool ones. It is inevitable in your career that you will be working sometimes at jobs that you do not feel crazy about. They feel like a stop to get to the next destination, or they feel like something that you don't really want to show up to every day, or they just feel extremely boring and tedious, even if you thought you would love the job. But ultimately, there is something to be taken from every career experience, no matter the genre of work it is or how long you're spending there. And more importantly, you're doing a good job the best can do for each job isn't just for them, it's for you. It's for your integrity, it's for your experience, it's for your reputation, and it's for the skills that you take from it. You might be working, for example, in an extremely boring and tedious admin job; that you can't wait to get out of, but by excelling at that job and taking it seriously while you're in it, you can not only learn vastly more from that job and come away with a great reference; but you might be surprised at the opportunities that come your way just from doing good in it. Often career paths don't go the way we think we do because we end up getting detoured by opportunities we couldn't have even anticipated. And, a lot of times, being at the right place at the right time and making the right impression is the key to getting there. And remember that you are always free to keep looking around while you're in a position that may not be ideal, but that doesn't mean going total senioritis on your current work. For example, you might be able to learn a tool or software at your current job that might be useful in a future one and would make you better at your current job while you're already there. The point is resenting where you are career-wise and feeling totally checked out every day does no one any favors, especially yourself. And similarly, in your personal life, there are going to be many moments that don't feel totally ideal. You might be living in an apartment, for example, that you're not psyched about staying in long term. But if you go full like [ __ ] it mode, and don't take care of your space. And don't make it even remotely pleasant or do anything to make it nice, every day is going to be like a living hell in that apartment. What it could just be like a pretty nice apartment that you'll get to move out of soon. Or maybe you're living with your parents for a while, you can choose to hate that every day, or be like, "hey I get to save some money and hang out with my parents could be worse; someday they'll be dead." Or maybe, right now, you have a commute that just isn't ideal, so instead of hating it every day. Make a list of five things you could be doing during that commute that would make it feel better in the moment, and be more productive to your longer-term goals. Ultimately the best professional skills are the ones that radiate into all areas of our life because like I said, so much of being professionally savvy is about just making yourself a better quality person, that people can trust, that people want to be around, and that people can learn from. And when it comes to making every day at work count no matter your job, you'll want the right tools; like a VariDesk, and one way to ensure you're working smarter. No matter what career path you're on, it is by getting the right work equipment, and for those of us who work at a desk, that means upgrading to a standing desk. As I mentioned earlier, this video is sponsored by VariDesk. At VariDesk, our standing desks, which enhance your work experience by allowing you to burn some calories and improve your posture while working. Rather than just sitting all day with your neck curved down; toward your screen. If you're someone who works at a computer all day, you owe it to yourself to upgrade to a working position that actually leaves you feeling good at the end of the day. VariDesks come quickly; they're set up right out of the box, and they're both sturdy to use and aesthetically pleasing on any existing desk. Treat yourself to a better work experience by clicking the link in our description to get a VariDesk today, and thanks again to VariDesk for sponsoring this video. As always guys, thank you for watching, and don't forget to hit the subscribe button. And to come back every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday for new and awesome videos. Bye.