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Below is an article originally written by Caitlin Erickson at PowerToFly Partner Yelp, and published on September 17, 2018. Go to Yelp's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
When I started at Yelp's Phoenix office six years ago as an Account Executive, I was nervous. I was six months' pregnant and had no idea how I was going to start a new career and a new family.
But Yelp made it easy. No one thought twice about my going on maternity leave after only being at work for three months. In fact, my training manager asked me about names and my teammates threw me a baby shower (they gifted me with a baby swing that proved to be a lifesaver). The day I left for maternity leave, my director even came over to shake my hand and thank me for my hard work.
After returning from leave, I had to juggle a newborn with my new sales career. One thing I learned as a new mom was that newborns get sick and constantly have to go in for checkups! Fortunately, my manager always worked with my schedule. He would help me call high-priority follow-up appointments and we'd work together to recover lost time so I could still hit my target. Now the company even offers backup daycare options, so I can have someone come to our home and watch my son if he's not feeling great or if school is closed.
Fast forward a couple years and I was advancing to a management role while parenting a toddler. Career advancement in general isn't easy. Career advancement when you're a single parent is even harder, but the launch of the Yelp Parents Employee Resource Group in 2014 has helped me tremendously. I built up important professional skills and increased visibility with leadership by talking with group members and building out membership. This helped me earn my promotion into management. Today, as a leader for the Yelp Parents resource group, I've forged lasting friendships among many other parents who have become my support network when work or life gets tough.
After managing a sales team for a few years, I was offered a new opportunity as a National Sales Planner. This role allowed me to further my career, and refocus on my family and our hopes of growing it by one more. When you start a new role and tell your new boss that you're hoping to be on maternity leave within the year, you're probably not expecting a happy response. However, my new boss was delighted to hear about our plans. It was incredibly refreshing to have him remind me to not worry about work and enjoy my time with the baby on leave. My entire team echoed that sentiment, which really made my three months of maternity leave extra enjoyable. It also made coming back easy (as did having access to a private mother's room with a hospital grade pump!).
Since returning from my second maternity leave, I've been able to jump back into leading Yelp Parents and continue to spread love for parents across the organization. We'll be holding our sixth annual Halloween Hullabaloo in Phoenix next month, where employees decorate the entire office and bring in their kids to participate in crafts and trick-or-treating. Last year, my son dressed up as Shaggy and carried around his Scooby Doo doll, while my husband and I escorted him as Fred and Velma! The office is also supporting an incredible professional development event where Yelp vice presidents are flying in from San Francisco and hosting lunchtime workshop sessions on topics like time management, work-life balance, and emotional intelligence.
The opportunities and support Yelp provides constantly remind me how lucky I am to work at a place that values me as an employee, celebrates me as a parent, and helps me advance even through all the obstacles of parenting!
Worried about those moments when you feel like a fraud at work? Learn how to see imposter syndrome as a good thing
Below is an article originally written by Candace Whitney-Morris at PowerToFly Partner Microsoft, and published on March 23, 2018. Go to Microsoft's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
Building your career is a journey filled with challenges, excitement, and forks in the road. And journeys are easier with maps. In this column, job experts answer your questions and deliver advice to help you take the next step.
Question: Sometimes I feel like I'm in over my head at work, like I don't belong, or like I am not good enough. Any advice for how to overcome this feeling?
Answer: Anyone who tries to achieve something new or who moves out of their comfort zone could feel like a fraud at one time or another. And while there might not be an official senior manager of imposter syndrome, Trish Winter-Hunt has certainly seen and worked through the phenomenon enough to develop expertise on the matter. If you haven't experienced imposter feelings yet, said Winter-Hunt, senior content experience manager at Microsoft working with Windows devices, it's just a question of time.
In all her years as a professional communicator, working in public relations, marketing, and communications with PhDs and C-suite executives across a range of organizations, Winter-Hunt never met a single person who didn't experience imposter syndrome—the fear that arises when people can't internalize their success and worry they'll will be exposed for the fraud that they believe themselves to be.
Imposter syndrome was first identified by clinical psychologists in the 1970s and has been a topic of study ever since. A wide variety of articles have been published on the topic, and the issue has received more attention in recent years with new research and as career coaches, business and self-help books, companies, and publications such as Harvard Business Reviewhave addressed it.
Whether you are familiar with feelings of faking it or newly acquainted with your inner imposter, here are some tips to build confidence and beat back imposter syndrome so that you can achieve great things.
Self-talk really works, for better and for worse
First, Winter-Hunt said, "there is nothing wrong with you."
If your inner dialogue is spinning thoughts like "I am not good enough for this job," "the hiring office made a clerical mistake," or "any moment now, someone's going to find out how much I fake it every single day," then welcome to the club.
According to one study, these feelings are especially prevalent among highly ambitious people, notably women, who have self-imposed standards of achievement. You can feel good about the presence of that voice; it means you are taking a risk. When you are venturing into new territory, there's just a certain level of ambiguity that we have to learn to be comfortable with, explained Winter-Hunt.
But imposter syndrome ceases to be a helpful motivator if those feelings limit your ambition—if they stop you from going after what you want, a phenomenon that Winter-Hunt said she sees all the time when she interviews candidates. Because one place that you can almost guarantee that your inner imposter will show up is during a job interview.
"It's really disheartening to hear so many people self-select out of a position, even when they've already landed the interview," she said. "I tell them that I'd likely not even be interviewing them if I didn't think they could do it."
"One striking characteristic of the syndrome is that although impostors crave acknowledgement and praise for their accomplishments, they do not feel comfortable when they receive it," according to Psychology Today. "Instead, praise makes them feel anxious because they secretly feel they do not deserve it. After all, they think, I'm just faking it—unlike everyone else here who seems to know what they're doing."
Imposter syndrome also likes to show up uninvited when you are beginning something new, but the feelings of fraud don't necessarily indicate that you are about to make a mistake.
Winter-Hunt said that one way to combat those feelings of inadequacy is to turn those phrases on their head. Repeating mantras like "I am good enough" or "I deserve to be here" are small but mighty steps toward undercutting self-defeating thoughts.
So go ahead: just for a few seconds, take a deep breath, and say to yourself, "I've got this."
Foster the imposter
Feelings of fear and inadequacy are uncomfortable but also natural. It's tempting to try to hide it, to overcompensate with your coworkers or in an interview. But usually that inauthenticity only makes you feel like more of an imposter.
Instead, "foster the imposter," encouraged Winter-Hunt in a recent article. "Because you most likely will never overcome feelings of fraudulence. Instead of viewing imposter syndrome as a defining characteristic, embrace it for the transitory experience it is," she wrote. "One that forces you to evolve, try new things, and question your previously held philosophies."
Some people welcome it and even use the opposite feelings—comfort, security—as signs that it's time to try something new . . . that perhaps the very presence of imposter syndrome indicates that you are itching to grow in areas you've become stagnant.
Talk through it
Research shows that for people who can't shake their imposter syndrome or feel their lives are overtaken by it, talk therapy can really help. And not even necessarily with a trained professional.
Winter-Hunt said that even just being up front with her boss and vulnerable with her coworkers has made a huge difference for her. In all the discussions she's had, she has never been met with a reaction that wasn't encouraging and supportive.
So go ahead, learn to love that imposter, but never give it decision-making power. Winter-Hunt lives by a quote from bestselling author Seth Godin: "Begin. With the humility of someone who's not sure, and the excitement of someone who knows that it's possible."
Why? Because the world needs your talents, your persistent exploring, and your desire to keep challenging yourself. We need your help to push into what's next.
Working mom and military spouse
Below is an article originally written by PowerToFly Partner Deloitte. Go to Deloitte's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
"When you're 22, fresh out of college, and exposed to real-world clients for the first time, it's tough because you don't have that life experience yet. When I came back to Deloitte, I had that experience, and it helped me adapt again to the professional world."
— Sylvia Taylor, Deloitte US Office of Confidentiality & Privacy, Austin.
In 2006, five years into her first stint at Deloitte, Sylvia left Deloitte when the military relocated her husband Patrick, a US Navy pilot, to rural California, where she opted for a local industry position. "Despite being a Navy base, many are built out in the middle of mountains and desert, rather than near the coast." After California, they moved again to the high desert of Nevada, placing her hundreds of miles from the nearest Deloitte office. Forced to leave her industry job, she took advantage of this time to start a family while pursuing a professional certification as well as her master's degree.
Still, Deloitte remained on her radar. "I always said that I'd like to try to come back." So when circumstances took her family back east to the DC area, Sylvia applied to Deloitte's Encore program, an 11-week course for people who've left the professional world for an extended period of time. Encore hones skills, builds professional confidence, and prepares people for the return to a high-performance environment. The program rekindled Sylvia's passion for Risk and Financial Advisory and for Deloitte. Following it, she immediately stepped into a senior consultant role in Deloitte's Richmond, Virginia office.
Her return to Deloitte has been far less turbulent than when she first walked into the Houston office back on September 10, 2001. Yes, the day before 9/11. A short time later, after several industries experienced a regulatory fallout and their bankruptcies created more turbulence, auditing and consulting were changed forever. That combination of events shaped her work, with much of it being focused on early compliance with the 2002 federal law known as Sarbanes-Oxley.
Booting Back Up
Now, 15 years later, she's tackling another challenging area of the profession that's growing exponentially: auditing information technology. "Coming back up to speed was really a 'boot camp' for the first three months, and in some ways, it still is," she says. Sylvia's found support from co-workers and mentors. In fact, she's been able to reconnect with friends who still work in the Houston office where she started. "I have my married name now, and I actually emailed them joking around, introducing myself as a new employee…then at the bottom of the note I told them who I was!"
Sylvia says raising a family and working like she does is a balancing act. She gives credit to a few things for being able to maintain both. First, her parents who are the children of immigrants from China who fled the country during the Communist Revolution. "They owned several small businesses while raising a family," she says. "They've worked very hard and have achieved much success from that." That instilled in her a strong work ethic, whether the pursuit is a career, hobby or family.
Second, being a Navy spouse has taught her to be flexible and to deal with uncertainty. Something that is required in Risk and Financial Advisory work. Lastly, she says, "Deloitte has been really great at working with me to stay on local clients with minimal travel." She adds that she's been able to carve out blocks of time for her family—evenings and weekends—while still being connected to her work and her team. "It's easier now than it was 10 years ago for us to work remotely with advances in communications and technology."
Outside of work, Sylvia enjoys experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen. "We have had amazing travel opportunities with our careers, and food was always a big part of that experience. I enjoy recreating many of those experiences at home." She now looks forward to one day traveling with her two boys to share the same experiences with them.
In the fall of 2017 and after being back with Deloitte for a little more than two years since re-joining the organization (and since her profile was first published), Sylvia is serving in a different capacity than Risk and Financial Advisory.
Today, Sylvia is a Lead Specialist in the Deloitte US Office of Confidentiality & Privacy, assisting with the deployment of Confidential Information Programs for client accounts, and helping to effectively mitigate confidentiality and privacy risks.
"Our team helps client service professionals address confidentiality requirements related to client confidential data, including personally identifiable information, via manual processes, and data handling or technical safeguards. You can imagine how important this is today, not only for our clients, but also for Deloitte. " Sylvia said. "I wanted to focus on an internal role that would be suitable to the skills I gained in the last two years in the risk and financial advisory role, and I feel I've found that. I'm excited for this next opportunity at Deloitte."
Not only has Sylvia made a move to a new area of focus at Deloitte, not long ago, she and her immediate family decided making a physical move from Virginia Beach to Austin, Texas, would be good, too. "We've made three moves in 10 years as a military family, so the decision to make one last move to Austin to be closer to our extended family fits right into our long-term plan, and I'm so grateful for this role and the flexibility Deloitte has given me," she noted. While it seems like Sylvia may be done with making moves for a while, that does not mean her Career Journey ends here. We will bring you more updates as we hear more from Sylvia in the future.
Deloitte's Military Spouse Initiative
Through Deloitte's Military Spouse Initiative, military spouses can lean on each other and utilize Deloitte resources to not just have a job, but have a career.