You Can Definitely Maybe Absolutely Sort of Have It All

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This week I’m bringing you a guest blog from 4word Board member and staff writer Richelle Campbell. Richelle started her professional life as a lawyer, but transitioned to part time work when her first child was born. Today she’s a full-time mother of two who likes to say she is also a “nap-time professional.” In the playful spirit of April Fools, I hope you enjoy her humorous take on the wealth and variety of—too often contradictory—advice offered to young professional women.   -Diane

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You can definitely have it all. You should set your sights on “it all.” At least, until you have kids and realize that if you leave them for work every day your soul will slowly die. Or not! You’ll have to wait and see. Except don’t bother, because you can’t have it all anyway, even if you do figure out what the heck “it all” means.

Be assertive at work. Don’t be bossy. Ask for what you want. If you talk too much about what you want, people will think you're not a team player. Your femininity can help you get ahead. Unless, of course, it tanks your career. Be attractive. Not too attractive. Be medium attractive. Be nice. If you are nice, people will walk all over you. Be yourself. Don’t cry. Do. Not. Cry.

Set healthy boundaries on your work hours. Be available and responsive at all times; otherwise everyone will know you’re not committed. Make sure your accomplishments are recognized. Don’t talk about your accomplishments. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. As long as you do so without showing weakness of any kind.  Try hard. Just not in a “try-hard” kind of way.

Want to get married? You’re going to need to marry the right kind of guy. There are three guys that qualify. On the planet. Don’t get married too young. Don’t wait too long. Find yourself a husband while you’re still in college. After that, your chances of finding said guy diminish quickly. Ask lots of serious questions about finances and kids and future plans. Don’t move too fast.

Work more. Date a lot. Date at all. But don’t get distracted from your goals. Also, set goals. Build deep friendships. Volunteer. Pray more. Get plenty of sleep. Stay fit. If you can’t stay fit, at least drink more water. Relax! You’re too stressed out. Get a plant. Get a pet. Urban chickens maybe?

But seriously, work more.

Lean in. Or back. Or possibly sideways. Definitely be leaning somewhere. Leaning is really important.

Attend every networking event within a 5 mile radius. You read that right, all of them. Networking is the key to getting ahead. While networking, you will learn that good mentoring is the key to getting ahead. At least it would be, if Sponsorship wasn’t the key to getting ahead. You need a powerful sponsor who can shepherd your career. You probably won’t get one, because the odds are totally against you. But if you do snag a sponsor, they will tell you to go to more networking events.

Network! Link In! Tweet (serious, businessy stuff only, obviously)! Synergy!

Figure out what “synergy” means.

Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. It’s sort of okay if you fail. Your 6th grade teacher will be terribly disappointed of course, and your hypothetical children might never respect you. But still, at least you tried, right?

Just don’t forget that you could totally have had it all.

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Are you struggling to make sense of all the “advice” out there? We are too, and we’re doing something about it. That’s really what 4word is all about. We’re working to help you cut through the crazy, by connecting you with solid information, real support, like-minded friends, and sage mentors.

What’s your favorite piece of advice or “advice” for professional women out there?