Another great read in the bag. Yaay! Reading ‘Leave your Mark’ by Aliza Licht felt like getting through different episodes of a girly series. Toward’s the end of the book, Aliza Licht does let on that her successful social media formula as DKNY Girl on twitter was inspired by the famous series, ‘Gossip Girl’ but thats not why the book gives off that vibe! The book is packed with a mixture of narrations of her own past experiences. She starts off by discovering that she is going in a completely different direction (plastic surgery) from her actual passion(fashion) and then starts to navigate her way back. This book is basically about ‘how she built her own ladder’ where there was no obvious path. Its packed with real life scenarios of devious colleagues, mean bosses and a whole lot of accessories organising. Lol. Oh, yes! She paid her dues and learned many lessons along the way.
Professionalism is not dead. In today’s world, various avenues like social media mean people in high places are easily accessible but that does not mean you can approach them in a cavalier manner. Short handed messages like, ‘Hey, can u talk’, will get you nowhere. Neither will a phone call from mum, despite her being the connection. She also covers a lot of ground on professional etiquette, like cover letters and ‘thank you’ emails after interviews. For some professions that goes without saying but having read some of the scenarios she has seen in the Fashion and PR world, this subject is worth the time. Calculated touches of professionalism can make you the most memorable crab and get you out of the barrel.
Timing in career is key. Treading that fine line ‘between paying your dues and moving on in time before sh*t hits the fan’ can be difficult. Whether you are looking for a promotion or a pay rise, gauging contribution versus returns can be tricky. We have all heard of that scenario where the boss shows the colleague that their contribution is not worth progression and verging on replaceable, but unfortunately the colleague chooses to carry on as if the amber light has not been flashing for a while. At the sign of a red light you must begin to explore other routes. If you feel you are reading the signs wrong, seek out a confidant to help you understand the signs otherwise you risk stagnation or worse, the chopping block! Its important to gauge whether you are ‘paying your dues’ or wasting valuable time.
Build your portfolio even in your current role. Keep a record of your contributions to the business environment and goals. This will help you negotiate pay rises, new positions or even more responsibility in your current role. Understanding what is above and beyond and what is your actual role is very important to that list. Your boss may look at you funny for asking for a pay rise for doing what your paid to do well. When it comes to this record think above and beyond! The point of your record is to give you confidence and assurance of your growth and contribution and help you understand your next direction.
Navigate office politics carefully. ‘At the end of the day, business is about human nature more than it will ever be about business’. Well said Aliza. Lets be honest, sometimes a work place can became a playground. Bosses mark territory, people become teams and gossip does the rounds. There will always be those characters that get things going and try to get you involved. Don’t add to, or stir the pot. Be careful where you place your feet in these scenarios.
Do not get caught out on social media. Social media can be a serious deal breaker in more ways than one. You may tick all a recruiter’s boxes until he/she decides to skim through your profile. Other faux pas include sending your boss a friend’s request, tagging the company profile in drunken posts, etc. These things can be hard to gauge so your better off safe than sorry by following some unsaid rules. Think before you post. Let your boss take the lead with befriending you on social media. Think of your social media as your personal brand and post accordingly. She goes into detail on the content for your bio, what do you want to be known for, finding your voice on social media and so much more.
The higher you go the cooler you should become. The last few chapter focus very much on lessons for leaders. Firstly, should you go on to rise in your career, help others up. Having worked her way up through Haute and Atelier to DKNY, Aliza credits key people for nurturing her and giving her the opportunity to grow. But for every person that nurtured her, there was one that sought to stifle her or misread her determination as intimidation. Don’t be that person. As a leader, nurture people who are looking to grow. Secondly, if you are to lead, you must work on your network and networking skills such as learning to work a room with grace, conversational skills, maintaining professional relationships, etc. Thirdly, you must learn the ropes surrounding your own. While working as an accessories assistant, she learned the art of public relations which afforded her the next step on the ladder at DKNY.
The book is written through the eyes of a PR specialist which offers refreshing insight. It shows one the balance between pushing and pulling in career and ‘the business of people’. To me, this is also a great book on emotional intelligence. People are the most complex matter in the world, and yet we cannot do anything worthwhile without them. If I was Aliza, I might have named the book. ‘How to act accordingly 101’. Haha.
In a nutshell, if you must progress you must calculate….