I’m getting ready to get back on the road again! Leaving for the Bay area to do another training and hopefully experience cooler temperatures than the DC humidity. On a non work related topic, whose been watching GoT??? I’m loving the women characters from the premiere. Lady Mormont maybe small and she doesn’t need anyone’s permission! #FeminisimRules
Work is work and sometimes we get caught in the notion that you have to love your work to be happy in life. Life isn’t meant to be perfect because you need the ebb and flow to understand gratitude. Recognizing when the benefits of your work outweigh the challenges is really the key to understanding if you’re doing what you love. It’s probably the reason why I continue to review the past 15 years as an entrepreneur with rose colored glasses. I can barely remember the times when I wanted to throw in the towel because all of the benefits outweigh the challenges. It’s good to know what drives your purpose because when your work becomes a career, it can also be an adventurous journey. Here are a few extraordinary women who share how they made their careers into an adventure.
As a woman, I know all too well the pressures that society places on my gender in both a professional and personal context. For the longest time, my own mother (who has been an independent woman for all of her life) really didn’t understand why I didn’t want to get married and because she raised a stubborn daughter, I pointedly didn’t get married when she wanted me to just so that I could say that I did it out of my own choice and not by being harangued into it. Living in DC, where everything is not normal, I see women who chose to have children later in life and women who decided to get married in their 30s+ or not at all. I have also shared how the “outside/normal” world thinks about women candidates/elected officials who are single or who don’t have children. Society continues to place pressure on gender roles and finding a workplace that takes that into consideration is extremely forward thinking. This has led to new opportunities for businesses to fill in the gaps. There are now maternity concierge services that will help women with the issues that they normally deal with so that they can focus on returning to work. It’s helpful in getting the tasks done so that women aren’t trying to do it all however it doesn’t address the same societal pressure that it’s women who have to be the ones responsible in executing these tasks.
I’m trying to be more present these days which means, I don’t look at my phone. I have an app that tells me each week how much time I spend on a particular app where I’m trying to curtail my engagement. I try to spend one day of the weekend where I don’t read my email and I don’t respond to work. I don’t want my life to be a series of hours that were meant to catch up. So if you’re learning how to unplug, here are a few suggestions so that you can properly decompress and come back refreshed.
We live such crazy hectic lives that it seems a little out of place to slow down. I have to be honest and tell you that I have a lot of guilt if I’m not doing a million different things (which is a horrible habit). My brain is constantly firing away at different thoughts and projects that it physically hurts when I have to focus **all** of my attention to accomplish one action. You should have seen me last week responding to my French tutor in French in an email. It’s been more than 6 months since I used my brain to speak, let alone think, in another language. You could virtually see the steam coming out of my ears because my brain was working so hard. So it’s a nice reminder to everyone, including myself that it’s OK to slow down. I used to drive a lot more than I do now and I used to listen to NPR or the BBC on the radio and I can’t do that anymore because listening to the news is too depressing. So the alternative to listening to the news is silence, which is an act of kindness to myself. Silence is so rare and I do my best thinking when there is no noise but my thoughts. Hence, my best thinking comes from when I take a shower, but maybe TMI. Nonetheless, I like driving in silence and I can say that I’m meditating (sorta).
Thanks for reading/sharing and please don’t forget to subscribe! If you can give Arum Group a LIKE on Facebook and me a follow ontwitter that would be awesome! Appreciate it! Feel free to comment below or on my other social media platforms.
Big day today! We’re getting a new U.S. Representative for CA34 sworn into Congress. Exciting times! This past weekend, I was in Los Angeles for another client, America’s Opportunity Fund (AOF) doing a training for AAPI campaign operatives and candidates. It was terrific to meet local activists and help them move ahead with their political careers. I’ll be in the Bay area in 2 weeks and can’t wait to see everyone!
Here’s Tuesday Truths!
I tremendously loved reading this post because I’m a horrible small talker (yes, believe me especially since I work in an industry where communication is key) and really alerted me to a basic reminder: everyone just wants to connect with the people they meet. Strangers may or may not become friends but they become less strangers to one another. The secret to small talk is being unafraid to be awkward. Easier said than done. So when I remind myself to give zero f*cks, I became a more open person to opportunity and connection. Be your awkward self and people will see that you’re authentic.
Being a woman is HARSH. There are so many challenges and outside variables that nag at your self confidence. Are you married? Do you have children? Where are you in your career? Is there a growing competition between older and younger women? I am fortunate to have good genes that disguise my mid 40s age. I also have a mindset that allows me to stop thinking about age (whether it’s me or my friends/colleagues). For the longest time, I couldn’t track my friends’ ages. I knew that we were relatively in the same age group due to job experience etc but it wasn’t until they publicly celebrated milestone birthdays did I really see an age attached to them. IMO, there are women who are truly ageless, not because they look a certain way, more because they have a variety of friends of different ages, generally are current on technology and are compassionate/passionate advocates for their work & lives. I see the women who mentor me who are in their 70s & 80s and think, when I started in this business they were well into their 50s and they continue with such grace and veracity. The ageless generation (women who are in their 40s-50s) are my inspiration to keep myself curious and creative.
I obviously love what I do because I spend a lot of my weekends doing it as well! I remember when I worked in the hospitality industry and realized that my schedule no longer aligned with my friends (they had weekends and my definition of a weekend may have been a Monday-Thursday and be non-consecutive). I recognized that the industry wasn’t right for me and also that I’m the type of person who would easily give up a traditional weekend if it meant doing what I loved. So if you’re in a job situation that doesn’t meet your passion, then you should consider a few things before you decide to throw in the towel. You maybe feeling a little stuck and you’ll have to assess the situation but if you’re living only towards the weekend, it’s a red flag that’s also blinking DANGER DANGER.
We’ll be back to regular programming next Tuesday! In the meantime, I hope that you’re safely celebrating with friends and family while remembering those who sacrificed for the birth of this country. Thank you to all of those who serve, in the military and/or in public service to sustain the ideals of our democracy.
OMG – it’s the end of the month and end of the QTR and we’re headed into the July 4th recess. Then it’s full steam ahead before the August recess. I’m ready for a break!
Here’s Tuesday Truths to get you through the week!
I believe a great deal in what Eric Liu espouses and I hope that people who have recently become active in the political process will take it to heart about being a part of a community and those who have been in the battle, allow space for those who are interested in joining. Civic life doesn’t start/stop at becoming an elected official and it grows every time someone wants to be a part of the collective mission.
If you’re thinking about working in politics, doing it at a younger age has it advantages and if you’re extra fortunate to have the resources to participate, it’s even more advantageous. We’re talking long hours with very little compensation. I often say that working on campaigns can lead to many more opportunities should the campaign win and since campaigns are always understaffed, if you can excel at your job then you’re going to be successful. Campaign work is basically the equivalent of aging in dog years. You get to gain so much responsibility if people can see that you’re producing quality work. Life is good when you’re the last person standing or among the few left who survive the grind. With that mindset, it means that young people are given responsibility a lot faster than in a more structured setting and you may doubt your ability although management may seem to think otherwise. Confidence is a key factor to making sure that you don’t exude imposter syndrome as well as a healthy dose of reality from people who have more experience and are invested in your success. So if you’re in your early 20s you may benefit from hearing about Adam Litt, a former presidential speechwriter who worked in the White House at 24 years of age.
I’ve spent a great deal of June speaking on panels, whether to interns or full fledge attorneys and giving lots of career advice to those who are seriously thinking about running for public office. I get asked a lot of similar questions and it basically boils down to “What would you tell your younger self about your career trajectory?”. I did tell a group that they should consider a purchase in real estate in DC because everyone says that they’re staying for 5 years and then 25 years later, they realize that they should have bought property instead of renting #beingpractical. I have also started saying that life is unfair, get used to it and don’t think you need to take giant leaps to make a difference. I try to be inspiring and in the end, I find that I would rather give practical advice because work life is never consistently rosy. As a result, I’m happy to find thatJennifer Romolini is offering career advice that most people don’t know how to share.
We’ve got an election today in Georgia 6 so we’ll see what happens after the polls close and we left everything on the field. #Flipthe6th
In the meantime, let’s dish about Tuesday Truths!
We’re in full swing with interns in DC and that means a lot of young people running around getting coffee and making copies (seriously, does that happen anymore? c’mon people, aren’t we more environmentally friendly?). Nonetheless, there are going to be people who will think that there are jobs that are not worthy of them. I may complain about it because after 20+ years working in politics, I know that when there’s work to be done, I’m going to get it done, regardless of the task. At the end of the day, I greatly respect the people who have taken years to master the simplest of tasks because before they move on to the next accomplishment, they have achieved perfection. If you’re on the 1st rung of the ladder and want to reach the top rung, you’ll have to work for it and there maybe a time when you can take several steps ahead of others. To do that, you need to have a positive image of yourself as well as your abilities and where you want to go with your goals. Take this time to mold your scope of responsibilities to something that you can be proud of on your road to leadership.
Can you believe that the U.S. ranks 101st when it comes to gender equity in our national legislature?? China, Iraq & Afghanistan outrank us (frigging unbelievable). In years past, American women declined to jump into politics, but the political climate has ignited a flame within women to run for office. It’s partly our jobs to build the bench. I always like to remind people that being in politics really means being a public servant. Women warriors, we’re going to call you and I hope that you’ll take the leap!
The joke from my friends is that I must have a endless wardrobe collection and I’ve had fun documenting my fashion choices via Instagram and FB. One of the 1st questions I got was when I was going to repeat wearing the same outfit. I do admit to having an extensive closet so although I have repeated, it would be many months and sometimes years in between. Who knew that it was a fashion faux pas?
Thanks for reading/sharing and don’t forget to subscribe!
Last week I had a win with the #CA34 special election and although I’m not directly working on any of the elections in Virginia, I’m keeping my fingers crossed! #GOFIGHTWIN
Here’s Tuesday Truths!
I enjoyed this article because it reminded that no matter how much I am a hot mess, there are women out there who think I have it made, which means that there are women that I admire who probably are going through similar feelings. Books and guides are written to highlight the unique stories about people who have successfully navigated to dream jobs and careers, but more often than not, there are thousands of stories of people going through similar challenges to attain their definition of success. Life and career are never easy and as the article states, “success is a mess”. People often gloss over their journey and in hindsight, spend a lot of time in rose colored glasses reflecting on how they achieved their goals. I’m guilty of that because my memory has dimmed of when I had to hustle hustle to get clients during the beginning days of my consulting firm.
Last week I shared how perfection can deter us from recognizing the good things we have in life. That doesn’t mean that you can’t continue to dream big. Being engaged in your goals means continually striving to be better. It doesn’t mean that you should have expectations that make you feel badly about your achievements, even if it’s an incremental step towards your larger goal.
In campaigns, we talk about the scarcity of time and when you think about how as the principal of your life, how you spend time, you recognize that time is an extremely important aspect and driving force in your success. Out of the 3 things recommended that you do everyday, I am pretty good with 1-2 things. How are you doing with these recommendations?
People often ask me about how to build relationships with organizations and people in general. It’s both networking as well as expanding your reach in a deeper way. To effectively do that you need to be interested in the people that you’re getting to know. As a result, you should ask them questions that will lead to deeper conversations. Here are questions that can make those conversations more interesting.
With summer temperatures heating up, offices will have policies on appropriate dress code (appropriate sometimes seems to have a subjective definition). Here’s how you can have that conversation without it being uncomfortable. Along the lines of power dressing, Claire Underwood’s character has always been a fashion inspiration. It was fascinating to read how the costume designer conveyed attitudes through tailoring and adjustments in the clothes. I believe in good tailoring because when sometimes fits you perfectly, you’re more comfortable and less likely to fidget. Taking control of your wardrobe is a factor in stepping into your brand.
Thanks for reading/sharing and if you haven’t already, please subscribe!
Can you believe that half of 2017 has already passed? We’re 6 months into this calendar year and yet it seems like it’s been forever. I don’t know about you, but I feel like we’re in a constant battle and to be perfectly honest, my brain and entire being is feeling a bit weathered from the barrage. I’ve been politically active for over 20+ years as a professional operative and if you count the years I spent as a student activist, even more time being involved in the issues of the day. My everyday life revolves around politics and political empowerment so it’s not unusual to be acutely aware of the challenges that we face as women and as a woman of color. Everything at this moment in time feels extremely amplified and charged. My friendships are based around my professional life so to step away from political life can be challenging because I surround myself from people who are just as passionate about the issues. So I find myself forcibly taking breaks that take me out of politics. As a result, I’m taking the time to pause and recharge in settings outside of DC, even during the work week. Taking this time allows me to re-center and think with more clarity. If you don’t have the ability to remove yourself from an environment, I hope you can find a way to find an oasis to give yourself the ability to exhale.
Here’s Tuesday Truths!
Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good is something that I strive towards although I’m more than likely to want perfection to be a goal. The need for perfection is something I have tried to squash because as a child, I got straight As and had so much stress about disappointing people that it would sometimes create paralysis. I still try my hardest to be my best self, whether it’s learning more about a specific topic or doing new things because I still don’t think I’m a fully formed person, maybe 80% set in my ways and the rest learning how to evolve. So the idea of being flawless might be cornered by the very few, it’s not necessarily the mindset that I want to take for myself. Enjoying the good in a flawed life is OK because I can be happy with what I have and be in the moment. Striving for better is nice and it can be ambitious, but I won’t let it keep me from feeling blessed for what I’ve achieved.
Bad habits can be hard to break. The more you understand the root cause of these types of habits, the better chance you will have in re-setting your life. Mindfulness is how you begin changing those habits. I have found that life is a series of choices and how you decide to pursue your choices is really the deciding factor. Bad habits are really choices that are sometimes made without real contemplation. So much of life requires self reflection. People ask for my help about their brand but if you haven’t taken the time to think about it yourself, no one can really help you. We can coax you to think about certain aspects but the actual decision of what you want for yourself can ultimately only be decided by you. Punishing yourself isn’t going to help the situation (see above post about perfection). Recognizing what triggers these habits will help to better understand the emotions that cause you do something. Breaking the cycle begins with stopping yourself just so you can notice the negative things that are happening.
I have the mantra of #livinahappylife and that means living it the way that I find the most fulfilling. For a moment in my mid 20s, I needed to remember what fueled my passion. I have never believed in destiny, the idea that it’s pre-determined that you would do something or there’s a master plan. There are times when society will place pressure on you to be defined by what you’re doing or where you work. No longer giving F*cks is so important to finding your own happiness, even when what you may doing is actualizing your life. Life isn’t meant to be perfect, it’s meant to be lived so that you can enjoy all the things that surround you.
Everyone always talks about how multi-tasking is completely useless. Yet, I find on job descriptions the ability to multi-task is part of the requirements portion (I will need to review my own firm’s job descriptions for interns and associates to REMOVE that piece.). I work on so many projects that a majority of the time, I find that we never get from A-Z on a project because there are so many hiccups. Does that count as multi-tasking? The word has been so over-used that it’s hard for me to think of my work life as nothing more than a connection of actions that are dependent on others to do what’s necessary for me to move on the next action to completion. This all being said, there’s a time management strategy called kanban that can eliminate multi-tasking and get you to a more focused way of completing projects.
When your work life has got you DOWN, remember Toni Morrison has the reminders about your worth. Living in DC, people like to tie our identities to the jobs that we have and it takes a lot of effort to not allow that connection be the criteria of how you value yourself. You can also stop the cycle! When you meet people for the 1st time, talk about their interests, not about what they do or who/where they work – life is so much more and don’t let others determine that value for you.
Hope everyone had a good 3 day weekend! My father served in the armed forces and although he had already retired his military service by the time I was born, he reminded me of his dedication to the U.S. with his actions and through his relationships with those who served with him. I constantly grew up with stories and mementos of his military career. For example, there is a piece of jagged shrapnel that sits on the fireplace mantel of my childhood home that is a keepsake of what my father endured. He was wounded by that piece of shrapnel and kept it as a reminder. When my father passed away, my mother and I had his burial at Arlington National Cemetery and when I visit him now, I’m made more aware of how many more burials there have been in the nearly 30 years since his funeral. The markers are not of those who served in long ago battles/wars but within recent times. I see parents visiting their children, especially mothers/fathers and widows who sit on lawn chairs, sometimes with small children playing beside them while the adults keep their deceased loved ones company. Even after three decades, if I allow myself the moment, I can tear up thinking about my father so I can only imagine the grief that those left behind must feel. Military service is one of the highest honors to this country and I salute all of those who have served and continue to do so as well as give the utmost respect to the family members who support and continue on in service.
Managers, soon-to-be managers, supervisors & the like – we need you to create space for emerging talent and guess what, you’ll be rewarded with those people who step forward with them taking things off your plate! Ways that you can expand the leadership circlestarts with you so let’s get cracking by changing the environment – it’s a WIN/WIN!
The feedback that I’ve received from my team throughout the years is that people in my office feel valued and I take the time to invest in their progress (even after they leave Arum Group). When brands/companies/restaurants/retail establishments create a healthy work environment, teams form with the company philosophy in mind. Individuals are not just getting a paycheck, they believe in the work. When you have customer service where the employee cares about the customer because the employee knows that that’s part of the brand of the company as well as why, you have a brand that will weather more challenging times. Companies that care about their employees take the time to understand their employees’ well being. If I’m on deadline, I maybe a more irritable person and less cheery but my team knows my quirks and knows that I’m on their side to making them successful. Personality is an ever changing situation but the core of my team’s values remains the same. We fight for one another and when we make mistakes, it’s on me. I’m thankful for their work and I care about them individually. It’s important to understand that I value them and not see them as just another person who clocks in. This creates trust between us and that they can count on me as much as I can count on them.
For those folks who are experiencing their 1st professional job interviews post college, you may want to review these tips to make sure you’re prepped. Some of them are very basic but better to be overly prepared then running late going to the wrong address. I had a young woman who was walking frantically in my neighborhood looking for the address for her interview (mind you, I live in a fairly residential area so not a lot of office buildings) so she knew that something was off. I asked her if she needed help and she showed me the address. Of course, living in DC is also about understanding the quadrant system and she was in NE and not NW (where she was scheduled to interview). I let her know and she was quite distraught that she was going to be late (not a good feeling when you’re trying to remain calm as you interview). It happens and you can prevent being frazzled if you advance your interview location or at the very least, check out where it is located on google maps. Happy Interviewing!
Congratulations, you have the job offer! In this market, you may want to accept the 1st position offered to you but let’s take a moment to think about whether it’s the best fit. You spend so much time at work that aside from the paycheck, you might as well get something out of it for a future position.
For those of us who work constantly, there is a major risk of burnout. My friends and colleagues who have moved out of DC have discovered that work life balance does exist and it’s a crazy atmosphere that drives DC professionals to becoming workaholics. Whether it’s the peer pressure of those around us who are consistently working themselves to the brink of exhaustion or the demands of our jobs, where there aren’t enough people to execute the tasks at hand, DC is a hotbed of crazy work schedules and no time to decompress. It makes us wonder if we’re really cut out for a sustained period of time of non-stop work. Does this lifestyle make us resilient because we are battling time and its effects? If anything, it makes me put boundaries on my time. I used to answer my emails every day of the week, including holidays. Instead, I have a no email Saturday. I don’t look at my emails which means I don’t answer anything and continue the cycle of work. It’s a small step in reclaiming my time and the space that is thoroughly occupied with work. I enjoy what I do so it’s not really a complaint of that type of work, but more of an assessment that I need to be more well rounded. Less work time and less guilt and more time set aside to do things outside of work. It’s nice to have coffee with someone and not discuss work! How you take the time to become resilient is less about enduring the tasks at hand and more about how you give yourself the time and space to recharge.
If you haven’t seen these photos about race and power among women, then you need to check it out immediately. Representation is so important as well as breaking racial stereotypes. The images are a starting point for a deeper and more complex conversation. What do you think about them flipping the script?
I survived last week’s crush of events to celebrate AAPI heritage month. It’s always a lovely time re-connecting and forging new relationships with those who are interested in uplifting the AAPI community. There are 21 million AAPIs and we represent 6% of the population so we’re encouraging talented individuals to look at public service as a career. Oftentimes, you’ll find people who aren’t interested in running for office because the sacrifice to run and be in the public eye can be daunting. Compared to pop culture, the majority of elected officials are not “Frank Underwood” or “Fitzgerald Grant”. As a political consultant, I can attest to not ever stealing an election or playing dirty to win. To make policy and politics “sexy”, writers have schemed scenarios that are simply way past anything that any boring campaign/election could ever contrive, with the possible exception of the 2016 presidential election. When faced with squeaky clean candidates, policy discussions and the minutiae of facts and figures can be boring. That doesn’t really draw people’s attentions. If during opposition research, you find information that can be used against your opponent, do you? Whose the messenger? How is that executed? As a political consultant, I’m still a human being. I may compartmentalize my own emotions to work with a candidate/public official but that doesn’t affect how I treat them as a client. I’m helping them to sell their views and ideas, not mine. I’m certainly not going to do anything to jeopardize my reputation and relationships and most definitely I’m not going to jail for them by doing an illegal activity just so we win. Understanding the limits of power is also essential to really understanding what it means to be an elected official. I go to bed at night with a clear conscience that I’m using my skills to help those who are interested in serving people. Working in politics is an honorable profession, regardless of what my counterparts on tv may do.
Here’s Tuesday Truths!
I get asked about what makes a good candidate and I always say that it’s important to be an active citizen. Regardless of your constituency, you have the ability to be a part of your community. I’m a DC resident and I travel across the country training and speaking about getting involved in your community so that you can think about being a public servant and get into elected office. That being said, I’m not particularly an active citizen in my own neighborhood. I trust the people who are my neighbors to help me make informed decisions about how I should vote about particular initiatives affecting where we live. I quietly volunteer for a local nonprofit and have gotten to know the people who serve our community in the everyday work that they do. If I were to run for ANC Commissioner, I would need to show up to the meetings and listen to the concerns of my fellow neighbors. I would need to understand what challenges we face and the history of the relationships that have gotten us to this point. Listening is a key factor to understanding what needs aren’t being addressed and learn how I might join the already existing infrastructure to help get those concerns remedied. If you didn’t already know, I read music and have performed for many years playing guitar and have taken many years of voice lessons, particularly in opera. My voice instructor suggested that I switch it up and take jazz instruction. Well, that was a novel idea because as a performer or instrumentalist, I’m supposed to play the music as it’s written and most people have an idea that jazz is an impromptu performance. Let me inform you that it is and it isn’t. In my jazz class, it was required that we learn the pieces as written and then and only then were we allowed to “blow it up”. In other words, learn it as it was intended and then bring your own spin. I can say the same thing about politics and activism. Being an elected official doesn’t mean you are a know-it-all. Most people like the humble aspect of public servants and when you see a problem, learn from the people who have spent years/decades/more time than you on trying to solve the situation before you decide to blow it all up. Although I don’t know the particulars of this election, it’s my understanding that a younger person challenged an older more established person who was the sitting mayor and won. People voted for the younger person in the primary because it appeared from the article that the young person had spent a lot of his youth tending to the needs to the community by revitalizing an amphitheater and voters paid attention to this individual’s enthusiasm for their shared hometown. That is the kind of candidate you want to be, regardless of age, ethnic background etc..
For all those who are in leadership positions in non-profits please take heed of these myth busters. So important that we don’t perpetuate the ugly cycle that causes all of us to have burnout creep. For those who work in non-profits, share it with your leadership so that they can understand that it’s not meant to be normal. Campaigns with its limited life span has similar attitudes but we campaign hacks know that it will last for only so long because election day is looming. There is a way to have work life balance and work shouldn’t consume your life, unless you’re an entrepreneur and it’s just a way of life (totally different topic with a broad array of answers & attitudes).
Going back to the basics when you need to de-stress. Make time for family/loved ones and your tribe who will help you re-charge and release negative energy. I try to not complain because life is bound to have peaks and valleys and so goes work. I enjoy politics and the energy that comes from it (#politicscanbefun) so when there comes a point to when I wonder why I’m doing something, I remind myself of why I got into this industry in the 1st place.
I haven’t yet watch The Handmaid’s Tale (am I the only one?) but I read the book many years ago when I was a college freshman and it was required reading (considering that I went to an all women’s college, Newcomb College of Tulane University, it makes complete sense). Just like in feminism, solidarity to the sisterhood is defined by power and where you are in proximity to it. This article really reflects on how the women villains are so terrifying. This fictionalized novel will hopefully never become reality, however we have had very real situations in history where the women villains have played a significant role. Think back to the Holocaust, slavery, the civil rights movement and there are women who are complicit in the evils that were enacted.
Going from women villains to SHEROS because these Latinas are investing in other women. This gives me so much energy and I love sharing the accomplishments of women, especially those from diverse backgrounds. These stories are about inclusiveness and bringing new stories to the table.
My alma mater graduated over this past weekend – Go Tulane 2017 graduates from this 1994 graduate! Which means that there will soon be an influx of interns and new graduates commandeering the halls of Congress, the streets of DC and the metro tunnels. Every year I want to take a group of these young professional women and give them my 2 cents on what is deemed professional attire. Each industry has their standard and it’s totally up to you if you want to blend in or stand out. What’s important is that you have a work attitude that goes with your attire, one that screams, “I’m a go-getter and I have the brains to match this awesome outfit too”. People will take you seriously if you look the part with your own personality thrown in for good measure. Here are other professional women’s suggestions on what to wear if you’re an intern or if you’re starting your first career job. For the record, most people say that I always look “dressed up” (trust me, I’m not wearing a ball gown) but their definition of “dressed up” is just my regular way of putting on my armor (white hat not included, Scandal reference BTW). Occasionally I’ll get mistaken for a Member of Congress and that’s probably more a combination of someone confusing me for a real Member of Congress, the way I dress & my demeanor. That tells me that I’m wearing clothes that allows people to make that assumption because if I dressed like a “stereotypical intern” then people would mistake me for one.
Thanks for sharing/reading! If you enjoy the posts, please LIKE Arum Group on Facebook! Appreciate the support 🙂
May is Asian American Heritage Month and there are a lot of cultural and political festivities to celebrate the AAPI story. Tuesday night will be Asian Prom, where a lot of my colleagues and luminaries will be all gussied up. There’s a lot of going out and networking – just perfect for the introvert in me 🙂 Needless to say, I know how to harness my energy to make it most useful to me. There’s a whole political fundraising schedule for these kinds of events. The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation has their legislative conference in September while the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute does a series of events during Hispanic Heritage month (September 15-October 15) as well. I was asked by a male colleague if I bought a new dress every time I had to attend these galas and my answer is that I have a closest dedicated to formal attire and my dresses go into rotation. It’s a good thing that Facebook has the memories feature because I can see what years I wore what dress. The dress that I’m wearing for the Tuesday night gala is a dress that I pulled from the archives. I think the last time I wore it, I attended a CHCI gala and there aren’t any photos of me in it so it’s new to you! It also helps that I have generally stayed the same size throughout the years so I can continue what’s in my closet without having to do too much damage on my wallet.
I have always said during the many trainings I’ve done that working on campaigns is like working in a start up many many times over during each election cycle. Generally, there’s not a lot of institutional knowledge and the “adult(s)” in the room are in the late 30s-60ish age group. There’s a lot of young people who are looking to move ahead. The big difference is that election cycles are short and when you work in an organization such as a start up, the payoff can be much later. The similarities, however are tremendous. So when you’re looking for a raise, take heed of some of these points and you’ll see that you have a lot ahead of you.
I’m all for women empowerment and showing solidarity for my sister friends who are battling against misogyny. So when people decide that women who are not supportive of other women who are advocating policies that adversely affect women and discriminate against groups due to their bigotry, are anti-woman or not a feminist, I get extremely annoyed. Remove the gender factor and you are left with a person whose values I whole heartedly disagree with on a very base level. It’s almost the equivalent to when I work with AAPI candidates. First and foremost, my values don’t change when it comes to the ethnicity of a candidate. If you share the same values as me and you’re “fill in the blank“, then we’re going to get a long just fine. I may want more AAPIs and communities of color represented in elected office but I will not actively work with someone who advocating for anything remotely related to discriminatory views – selective sexism.
From time to time, I do #ootd posts on my instagram. In all honesty, I am decidedly less creative in the winter months with my wardrobe selection than when the temperatures get warmer. Getting the chance to layer up and to wear more summer attire is more appealing than throwing on a sweater and pants on the regular. However the warmer months also means dealing with humid DC afternoons and office buildings that over compensate with cranking up the air conditioning. I’m fortunate that I don’t necessarily follow the skirt suit uniform so if you’re looking for creative inspiration for what professional attire you can wear in the summer then look no further. Elle magazine is sharing 11 women and their go-to outfits for the summer. #8 and #10 are my favorites!
Got any questions for me? Drop me a note in the comment section or send me an email!