Monica Anderson Young
Monica Anderson’s Career Stories
What is the most useful piece of career advice you got as a student, and who gave it to you?
The most useful piece of career advice came to me about being a student but is true also of a professional. The advice is to give all of your effort to your best effort in every task you undertake. And believe me, you don't always feel like doing this, like on days you simply can't do another math problem or write the closing paragraph to another essay. However, the sticking with it with a positive, committed attitude is what often makes the difference -- not the actual math problem, not the actual essay conclusion, not the task at work -- but the reputational excellence of being the professional people can count on to follow through with promises and commitments. That matters. It matters during the day at work and it matters at night when recalling the day's events.
How did you start building your network?
Building my network started when I was in high school, I think. But really, I don't like to think of "building my network" as a professional achievement. Instead, I'm more interested in fostering relationships and investing in people than chinks on my network totem pole. We all have a story; and we all have a purpose. Those interest me more than if my network can bring me benefit. I hope, at the end of my career, my network will think instead that I have brought value to our relationships.
When did you get your first Big Break? How did you get it? How did it go?
My first big break? I think I have a series of incredibly fortunate breaks, each one that can be attributed to a prior success. The most memorable break would be working for my school system's psychometrist one summer during break. I learned so much about data, psychology and people, information and lessons that still sway the way I think and operate even though I only taught school for four years before moving to a corporate setting. I landed the job because my family attended church with the psychologist who led the department. He became the superintendent years later, and he has even used some of my writing for a leadership company he formed after retiring.
What is the one piece of career advice you wish someone gave you when you were younger?
Oh, it isn't the advice I wish someone would have given me; it's the advice I wish I had taken!! My parents always, always, always encouraged me to think before I spoke, something I struggled to master when exceptionally tired or irritated. Being human is hard! But no better advice exists -- before you lash out on social media or at a friend or parent or co-worker, take deep breaths. Consider the best achievable outcome and how to reach that. Words can and do hurt/scar so treat them like the precious commodities they are. That is the advice I wish I had internalized in my 20's.