For episode 5 of MAKERS Money, Sallie's weekly show about women, money, and power, Carla Harris, Vice Chairman of Wealth Management, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor of Morgan Stanley (yes, all those things), joins in to talk about how to find your dream career — the one that lights you up each day because you’re doing something you love.
MAKERS Money is co-produced by MAKERS, the network of changemakers that spotlights the trailblazing women of today and tomorrow, and business and financial news platform Yahoo Finance. The six-episode season airs at 6PM EST on Thursdays on Yahoo Finance, MAKERS, and here at Ellevest. We’ll be archiving the episodes at Ellevest, too.
MAKERS Money, Episode 5: Passion + Purpose = Wealth
Sallie Krawcheck: Money is power. Ladies, it's time to level the playing field.
Hi everyone, welcome to MAKERS Money. I'm Sallie Krawcheck, CEO of Ellevest, the investing platform for women.
Your dream career, three questions away
Grab yourself a beverage, because we're going to dig into something exciting that I hope is going to change the way you think about your future. We need to talk about building your dream career. Yes! The one that lights you up because you're doing something you love. The one that means you're living your most badass life.
It's never going to happen in a vacuum. You have to pursue your dream career strategically, and with intention. Start by looking yourself in the mirror, and I want you to ask yourself three questions.
Number one: What does my dream career look like? You need to schedule some thinking time for this. Close your eyes and think hard about your ideal work. What kind of impact do you see yourself making? Are you being analytical? Are you being creative? Are you being persuasive? Are you leading a cause? Are you working on your own? Are you leading people? What makes your heart race faster?
Now, once you know what's important to you, the next step is to ask yourself what you're good at. This can be tough for some of us — because, after all, ladies don't brag. But sometimes, we also don't give ourselves enough credit for the things we're good at because it comes so naturally to us. So ask for feedback from people who know you well.
Number two: I want you to assess what experience you need for your dream role. Chances are that dream career could be a few steps from where you are today, so think about what skills you'll need for that next job. If it means getting better at marketing, ask the boss for a marketing project. Spring for the coding class you've been thinking about. Or start the blog you've been dreaming of. Whatever it is, building out your skill set is going to make you a stronger candidate for your next role.
Finally, ask yourself: Am I in a position of strength? When you're financially stable, you can make better decisions. Example: You've got three to six months of your salary saved in an emergency fund and you've been listening to that asshole boss of yours pitch your great ideas as if they're his own for months — then you've got the freedom to decide you are done with that bullshit.
How to rise in a field dominated by the guys
Joining us today is Carla Harris, Vice Chairman of Wealth Management, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor — you have a few titles at Morgan Stanley. In August 2013, she was appointed by President Obama to chair the National Women's Business Council. Carla, welcome. I'm so glad you could be here.
Carla: Thank you very much, Sallie.
Sallie: It's great to have you. You have been so successful in an industry that just doesn't have guys in it. It's dominated by men. How have you managed to be so successful and navigate those environments?
Carla: I'll tell you, Sallie. I think it's three things. Number one, as I made mistakes, really being focused and understanding how I got there and what was the mistake and what I could have done differently. The second is frankly having the tenacity to get back on the horse again and try it again as opposed to saying, "Oh this is now career-limiting." And the third is prayer.
Sallie: I think we as women, the research tells us that we're really embarrassed by our mistakes, more than the guys are. And what do you do? Just power through it?
Carla: Yeah, the key is to learn from the mistake. What was the lesson here? Why did the universe bring this issue to me, and what was I supposed to learn? Get that and move on. Don't create baggage, because baggage is heavy and it will create a competitive disadvantage as you lug it around.
Sallie: And I tell you also: Admit the mistake. What always makes me not trust someone in a business setting is when they pretend like the mistake didn't happen, or wasn't their fault.
Carla: Yeah, I can't agree with you more. Not only admit the mistake, own that thing, but also own the narrative. Never let anybody else tell your story.
Sallie: Outstanding point.
The single best advice for a 25-year-old
Sallie: Okay so if you could go back in time, and see yourself at 25, what are the three pieces of advice you'd give yourself?
Carla: First thing I would tell my 25-year-old self is, "Own your power." We have a lot of power, and we do easily and unconsciously give it away. The second thing I would tell myself is, "Take risks and play it big." If you're going to bother to play at all, play it big. You know what “no” looks like, so why not play for “yes?”
Sallie: If I could go back to 25, I'd say, "Divorce that man." … Where do you get your confidence from?
Carla: Well, I will say that my confidence has come through my experience. It's also come through my faith, and it also comes through having really strong women around me as I grew up.
Sallie: What are you telling women in their 20s about how to position themselves for the next big opportunity?
Carla: Too often, we focus on the performance, because we think the performance is the objective thing. You can't debate the performance. But we have to invest in the relationships — because as you know, as you get more senior, it's not the performance that makes a difference. It's whether or not somebody knows you well enough to speak up for you behind closed doors for that critical assignment, that big bonus, running a department.
Sallie: Even when you work in a big company.
Don’t make this career mistake
Sallie: What are the big mistakes you've made in your career?
Carla: Oh, where shall we start? There are a lot.
Sallie: Well, we don't have that much time.
Carla: I know. There are lots of them. But here's the one that I really want to leave you with: When you're trying to decide on that next thing to do, make sure that you understand that it's your responsibility to figure that out. Big mistake that I made: I was ready to move on to something else, I went to someone who was very powerful who could make it happen, and I said, "So and so, I'm ready to move. It's time to do something different." And he said, "So, what would you like to do, Carla?" And I said, "I don't ..."
Sallie: “I wasn't expecting that question.”
Carla: Yes. Right in that moment, I realized I had lost an opportunity. His job is to make it happen, not to help me figure it out.
Best (and worst) money moves
Sallie: What's the stupidest thing you've ever done with your money? What's the smartest thing you've ever done with your money?
Carla: The stupidest thing I've ever done with my money was to invest it with somebody who was a friend, who I thought would give good counsel. If I had looked at this situation objectively and done my due diligence, the answer would have been “no.” So that was the stupidest thing I ever did.
Sallie: Smartest thing you did with your money?
Carla: Smartest thing I did was invest in startups.
Sallie: Are you getting a return on those, or is it just for the fun?
Sallie: You are so great to be here with us!
Carla: Thank you for having me.
Sallie: What great advice, thank you.
Carla: Thank you very much.
“My dream job is sucking my soul”
Sallie: Okay, now it's time to answer some of the questions that you've sent in. The first question: "I'm a year and a half into what I thought was my dream job during college. Now, I dread going into the office every morning. What do I do?"
I get it. I totally get it. Totally get it, because my 20s — disaster. I hated every job I held. One more than the next. What I did, though, is that I was careful to note what I did like and what I was good at along the way.
And then, when I was facing old age — 29 years and 11 months — it hit me one day. An insight that I like to say so many young women have at that age: "I should be an equity research analyst." Okay, that might not be your personal passion — but it, believe it or not, was mine.
And once I knew that, my career took off. And I was the top of my industry in a few years. The lesson here is this: It's okay not to love your first job. Or your second, or your third … as long as you keep pushing yourself to figure out where your passion converges with your talent and ability.
“Should I step down the ladder to change careers?”
Question number two: "All right, I'm thinking about making a career change, but it looks like I'll have to step back into a more junior role. Should I stay where I am, or take a lower salary to do what I want to do?"
Let me ask you a question: Is it a job you think you'll love? Then go. And instead of thinking of just that near-term salary, look at the earnings that the highest achievers in that field have — and girl, plan to be right there with them.
So here's the deal: Figure out what makes your heart race at work and align that with what you're good at. That's how you'll build a career that brings you satisfaction and importantly makes a meaningful impact on the world.
Huge thanks to the hugely talented Carla Harris for joining us. Ladies, We want to hear from you, so tweet to us at @MAKERSwomen and use the hashtag #makersmoney, or send in your questions at Makers.com/makersmoney. Until next time, remember: More money, more power.
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