Here Is Your Opportunity to Say Why You Slay

Women, we need to brag more


Remember what feels like way back in December, when everyone was posting on Facebook about how bad 2016 had felt? Those were the days, amiright? Because here we are, in early February, and it already feels like we’ve lived through a decade of bad… and yet we have to go on. All that is to say, I’m living my day to day hungry for good news. What is happening in the world that isn’t the actual worst? What good things are playing out in my friends’ lives? What are people accomplishing right now?

But here is the thing: as a woman with a successful career, I have a hard time being the person putting those good things out into the universe. I don’t like bragging about myself. Hell, I have a hard time typing out the phrase “successful career,” let alone trying to choke it out in a sentence. And you know who does not have this problem, ladies? Dudes.

This fall we went to Europe’s big tech conference in Lisbon. I’m so used to working in the female-centric wedding space, attending female-centric conferences, that I had no real idea of what to expect from a more traditionally male-oriented event. But we were invited as part of the women in tech initiative (an attempt at making the space a little more egalitarian), so I went in with high(ish) hopes. Instead when I ended up in pitch sessions, I would watch guy after guy get up and pitch themselves like they were God’s gift to humankind. Did they have an idea? Often no. Did they have a GOOD idea? Literally never. Did they have a lot of experience? Nope. But still, they would stand up, brimming with absolute confidence, and ask for $10 million from perfect strangers. On more than one occasion I had to leave the room because I didn’t want to break things.

Do I think we should all carry ourselves with the confidence of this kind of privileged man? Maybe… not. But I do wish as women we were better at sharing our often very impressive achievements so the rest of us could be inspired to reach to greater heights. Which brings me to my keynote last week at Alt Summit.

For years my professional goal has been to be interviewed on the Keynote Stage at Alt Summit, which is the major women’s entrepreneurship conference we go to each year. I don’t know if everyone grows up giving imaginary interviews with their hairbrush in front of the mirror, because I don’t know if everyone loves public speaking as much as I do. But I’ve been conducting imaginary self-interviews for as long as I can remember, and I’ve been dreaming of keynoting since I started this gig.

And this month, it happened. It didn’t (of course) fall into my lap magically, because that’s not how these things work. The team decided to pitch me as a keynote speaker, and then when I got picked to keynote, I asked if I could be interviewed, and the organizers agreed. (TL;DR you get what you want by working really hard, and then asking for it… sometimes over and over again.) But last week, after I finished what ended up being an amazing keynote interview about using our platforms for good during these difficult times, I couldn’t even get myself to sit down and write about it. Why? Because it was embarrassing, and I didn’t want to brag. So instead Stephanie, who had definitely had a few glasses of wine at that point, sat down and wrote the kindest possible description of the keynote, which made me teary when I finally got a chance to read it a few days later.

So today we’re taking a break from bad news and partnering with Squarespace to do what our team calls #bragbox. It’s when you tell everyone where you’re killing it in your life, so we can all be inspired.

I’ll take a deep breath and start:

  • I gave a keynote at Alt Summit, and totally slayed that shit.
  • I just moved my company (which I’ve never put a penny of capital into other than money that we earned) into a 2,000 square foot office in deep East Oakland, allowing me to invest in the neighborhood I live in.
  • I put on my brave face and hired a new, much-needed staff member, who is killing it in her own right.
  • I’ve built a team of smart amazing (mostly) women, who are helping me to run a kick-ass company.
  • And I just helped teach an intern who was with us for six weeks from Bennington College, and I’m super proud of the work we did with her.

Sure, I could list a bunch of other things (I’m raising a four-year-old and a one-and-a-half-year-old and I’m… alive…) but bragging about more traditional feminine activities doesn’t scare me as much. I’ll tell you I have great kids on Facebook, but I might not tell you when I reached major career milestones.

Because so many of the women in my life are the same (I just found out one of my girlfriends now has a staff of fourteen at her company… because her husband told me!), let’s do this thing. Ladies, it’s #bragbox day. What is big and beautiful—and possibly scary to share—in your own life?


This post was sponsored by Squarespace. We are thrilled to be partnering with Squarespace again this year to talk about what it means to be a woman with hustle in 2017. If you’re looking to make a career change or kickstart one on the side, one of the best things you can do for yourself is create a home online where you can show off your work in the form of a portfolio site, an online resume, or another hub where you can display just how awesome you are. Squarespace provides the creative tools that make it easy to build your online home beautifully, even if you’ve never made a website before and have no idea where to start. Squarespace is offering APWers a 10% discount on your first purchase when you use the code APW17 at checkout. Click here to get your website started today with a free 14-day trial from Squarespace. 

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  • idkmybffjill

    “I’ll tell you I have great kids on Facebook, but I might not tell you when I reached major career milestones.”

    Man that really hit me! I don’t have kids (who are living outside of my uterus) yet. But I definitely never talk about my career accomplishments on social media the way I might personal ones. But thinking about it, the men in my circle do. New challenge for myself!

  • I obliquely (because of anonymity and ex boss stalkers) brag about my career stuff a little less than I share my money accomplishments which I share under #1GoodMoneyThing so friends can join in and brag about their money successes. But I can’t remember the last accomplishment I shared on Twitter or at the blog, so I’m doing this!

    I’ve been running major parts of my company for some years now, building it from the ground up, and we’ve done well enough to start recruiting more support staff early this year. I had shared this with a few people I’d worked with and one paid me a great compliment: he asked to join the candidate pool because he considered his work with me in years past to be formative and positive and he wanted to work for me again. Considering how many people quit jobs to get *away* from their managers, this was a hell of a boost!

  • emmers

    *I successfully remastered my career, moving from teaching primary school to a specialized field in higher education related to international people.
    *In 8 years I worked my way up from an entry level administrative assistant position to a supervisory role, and increased my salary by 50%.
    *I started with no knowledge about my field, and now mentor/train graduate students and people from other colleges and universities.
    *Before this job, the longest I’d stayed in a job was 1 year. I’ve been at my current employer for 8.

    • That’s an impressive commitment. 8 years to get to the position you want!

      • emmers

        It’s been gradual– 3 years in the admin position with gradually increasing responsibilities, 2 years in a non-supervisory position, and now 2.5 years supervising

    • LP

      Remastering my career is probably the scariest thing to me. I pretty much made up my mind on what I wanted to do at 17 and I’m TERRIFIED now of ever thinking of doing anything else. I’m so, so impressed by that!

    • MsMegHan

      As someone else trying to remaster a career away from high school teaching (or towards something teaching-adjacent, maybe), I’m always interested in hearing about what other people have moved into outside the classroom! This is the school year (my 8th or my 5th, depending on how I’m counting my part time versus full time teaching experiences) where I’ve finally admitted, out loud, that I want and maybe need to be doing something else, which immediately felt like the right emotional shift in my life, but now I have to figure out what I want to be “when I grow up” all over again, it seems like!

      • emmers

        And sometimes you don’t always need to have forever figured out. Sometimes it’s “OK, what job can I do for now.” Volunteering with the Obama campaign post-teaching helped rebuild my confidence, and then I was able to slowly mold my position at the university into something that could be good long term. You will get there! I remember that big first step of imagining myself elsewhere- it was huge!

  • Abby

    (TL;DR you get what you want by working really hard, and then asking for it… sometimes over and over again.)

    I work in Talent Management for a large company and I can’t being to tell you the power of making your wants KNOWN in the workplace. Your work product can be stellar and you can simultaneously get overlooked for a raise/promotion/etc because there are lots of high achievers out there. Those that fight (sometimes loudly) for their desired outcome generally get it in my experience.

    On me – I got promoted this past year woot woot!

    • Yes to making your wants known, it’s something my mentor told me recently. And she also told me, when you make your wants known and you still get passed over, it’s a sign that it’s time to move on. That honestly had never dawned on me until she said it.

  • Mariah

    Staying vague, but hopefully that still counts :)
    *Last year, I got promoted for the second time in 3 years!
    *Just got a bonus (in my industry, these are NOT a standard part of the compensation package)
    *I’m receiving strong support from our management team to develop expertise in a challenging but exciting growth field
    *My company supported my move from in-office to at-home work status (they literally don’t care where I am, as long as I stay with them)

  • Sarah

    “TL;DR you get what you want by working really hard, and then asking for it… sometimes over and over again.”

    I’m getting a promotion at work because of this method. I’m good at my job- like REALLY good at it. And when recent opportunity came up, I was very honest with my boss about how I had earned this spot. Before I stood up and said- I want this. I am the best for this. I have through my results proven that I have earned this- I wasn’t even on the consideration list for the job.

  • I applied to 30 tenure-track assistant professor jobs…and received remote interview invitations from 50% of those, and then on-campus interview invitations with 50% of the schools I remote interviewed with, and then received a job offer (or withdrew my app) from 100% of the schools I did an on-campus interview with. I had 5 job offers at some point.

    I downplay my success rate sometimes, by saying it’s the institutions on my CV, or my sub-specialty is really hot, or these schools are not the most selective. But in the end, these clearly don’t explain it all, especially since I accepted an offer from a super selective school. My app materials, my elevator pitch, my public speaking and people skills, all had to contribute quite significantly for things to work out this way.

    Sometimes, luck and hard work collude quite nicely.

    • TrueGrit

      Amazing! Good for you!

    • Katharine Parker

      Coming from someone who is looking to go on the market next year, this is truly impressive. Five job offers is not just luck.

      • I’ve been blathering about my experiences this year on my blog, keeping track of observations, and gathering resources. It may or may not be useful to you:

        Also, ‘The Professor Is In’ is particularly useful for those of us lacking more hands-on guidance…

        • Katharine Parker

          Thanks! I will definitely check your blog out. It looks like we’re in very different fields (…I will not need any virtual reality whatever in my start up costs :) but a lot of this stuff is universal across academia. I’d be interested in your decision-making process on accepting a position in a liberal arts college rather than a university if you’re thinking about post ideas.

          I’m going to a seminar with Karen Kelskey when she visits my campus in the next month. I hope it is useful–professional development stuff is so hit or miss, but she is one of the helpful ones, so…

          • lol. Even I don’t need virtual reality whatever in my start-up costs, but mentioned it as a thing that maybe someone somewhere needs that could be representative of other people’s equally esoteric needs? lol. Who knows.

            I’ve got a post about my research/SLAC decision making coming up in a couple weeks, so your suggestion is right on target.

            Karen Kelskey is pretty good if you view her as a more conservative opinion, from the humanities, although much of it is more general. A good example is her insistence that you need a leather briefcase for interviewing. Will not having a leather briefcase lose you the job? No, but it certainly won’t hurt you to have one (whereas a beat-up freebie backpack might). But then she also has this weird belief that it’s permissible to ask who else is interviewing for the same position. This seems weird. So. Take whatever she says with a grain of salt, as always, I suppose.

          • Katharine Parker

            As I’m in a fairly conservative part of the humanities, her advice should be useful to me. I’ve had the benefit of seeing three job searches in my department in my time in grad school, so I know how everything you do gets dissected. Academics, in my experience, love to gossip.

            But yeah… asking who else is interviewing doesn’t seem prudent.

    • Just Me

      Seriously – you rock! My spouse went on the job market this year and had a 10% on-campus interview rate (and is still waiting to hear if that turns into 1 offer). He also has impressive institutions on his CV….so take some credit for the YOU-factor that was involved. Congrats!!

      • 10% is pretty good!

        • Elizabethjguthrie

          Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj189d:
          On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
          ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash189HomeSpotGetPay$97Hour ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★:::::!mj189d:….,…….

        • Joeytjones

          Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj184d:
          On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
          ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash184MarketNetGetPay$97Hour ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★:::::!mj184d:….,……

    • Rose

      That’s super impressive! Well done! And of course a lot of it is you–institutions will only get you so far! And if your sub-speciality is in demand, that means that you picked a good one! Neither the area of your research nor the institutions you got into previous are random–they’re choices that you made and earned. Own all of that!

    • scw

      that is an incredibly high success rate. I had many friends who didn’t hear back from anyone this year–and they weren’t only applying to R1 schools. I know people who would have been thrilled to have five interviews, let alone five offers. good for you!! soak it up!

    • Sosuli

      Holy shit. My adjunct self (though in a different job market) applauds you.

    • Laura C

      That is amazing.

  • Emma

    *I just got a new job in a new city and even though I’m suffering from a bit of imposter syndrome and my boss is tough, I’m doing a good job!
    *I jumped right into my new city and am planning TWO charity events that are both really important causes to me

  • JC

    I paid for my undergraduate degree almost entirely with merit-based scholarships, completed one year of my Master’s using only my own savings, and took out a loan for the second year which I will pay off at the beginning of next month, less than three years after completing said Master’s.
    No, I’m not going back to school in the foreseeable future, because I find a purely academic environment to be spiritually draining, and I’ve been there and done that. I intend to thrive in the private sector, and I am not ashamed at looking forward to payday and seeing how much my time has earned me.
    I headed a proposal team last winter, and while our proposals were eventually put on the back burner, I earned the respect of my VP, CEO, and VP of Sales. I’m told this directly contributed to my promotion to manager late last year.
    I manage two of the more difficult employees in our department, and while it’s a learning experience, I haven’t made any mistakes so far. I’m positioning myself well for a move to a new company or an internal promotion in management with a significant salary increase in the next two year.

  • Elizabeth Ann Carrick

    *I am creating a Master’s Project that I am pretty damn proud of.

    *I teach and love 7th graders all day and am successfully instilling a love and understanding of independence and civil disobedience in them

    • Mary Jo TC

      That’s pretty amazing! I’m a teacher too, and we’re in a profession that doesn’t do a good job of giving people a lot to brag about. There are no promotions, and your accomplishments all seem like they’re just kind of “all in a day’s work.” But those days add up to big, if intangible, things, such as hundreds of human beings who can think critically (and vote accordingly)! Congrats on changing the world, one 7th grader at a time!

      • emmers

        As a former teacher, I think you can brag about staying in the profession for however long you have (and having served X number of students and family members through the years). Because that shit is hard, and there’s nationally a crazy-low staying in the profession 5 years or more rate.

        • Mary Jo TC

          Ok, then, I’ll brag that I’ve been teaching 8 years in Title I public schools, 6 of them in the same small alternative/nontraditional high school. Apparently I’m so indispensable here that it was impossible for them to replace me during my maternity leave.

          • emmers

            Damn! Like seriously, damn. Title I/alternative schools are no joke.

    • idkmybffjill

      I find teachers so wildly impressive. Thank you for what you do for our future!

    • LP

      Middle school teaching is so impressive. I hated being a middle schooler, I can’t imagine teaching them. Plus getting your masters all at once, which i know teachers in my state typically work and go to grad school. You go girl.

  • louise danger

    Just this week, I… turned down a job offer. And that was scary. And I still don’t know what my career path is or what I want to be when I grow up, but I realized as I go through the interview process over and over again that even my patchwork-of-industries admin assistant resume has some big accomplishments on it or between its lines:

    * I have gotten the programming of a multi-million dollar non-profit’s annual weekend conference back on track after an unscheduled fire drill caused the evacuation of ~30k people from the venue – and we only lost one hour of programming time, from alarm-pull to resumption of normalcy.

    * I have worked with international-caliber clients, including the staff of POTUS and FLOTUS and have politely declined a snack in the kitchen of the Ambassador of Panama’s house

    * My name is in [the acknowledgments section] of a scholarly paper in an anthology published by the British Museum

    * My office’s efficiency has skyrocketed since I started and I am continually working with senior management to implement new policies to maintain that trend
    *** related, I put myself out there for an opportunity in senior management’s suite – I didn’t get it, it went to someone with 18 years of experience (advertised as 5-10 years), but hiring-manager told me she appreciated my application and was pleasantly surprised to see that in the stack, i guess that counts for something

    • I hope these accomplishments are all in your Resume!

      • louise danger

        most of them! one isn’t because it’s not part of a paid position (the fire drill), but the rest are all there or are referenced :)

        • You might be able to consider unpaid experiences such as that as general “work experience”. If the skills and responsibilities of the experience fit where you want to go…

        • emmers

          Still share it even if it was unpaid! I’m convinced that the main reason I was able to transition out of teaching was because I highlighted some volunteer work I did in a political campaign, working with college students. Just because something’s not paid doesn’t mean you haven’t gained skills from it.

    • Jessica

      Holy crap, lady! Look at you go!

      • louise danger

        Michelle Obama is taller than most First Ladies so she had to have a special podium at her speaking engagements :) The snacks at the home of the Ambassador of Panama’s house smelled delicious. The Vatican doesn’t have an Embassy, it has a Nunciature, and all of the men who work there are polite and soft-spoken.

        That job was horrible but the experiences I had while I was there were sometimes pretty cool.

  • Hannah

    I got into grad school yesterday! It was my first choice, and the first school I heard back from. I’m waiting to hear back from my 2nd choice before accepting (mostly just to know if I’d have gotten in) but it took almost a whole year of hard work between studying for the GRE, applying to schools, and interviewing and I’m really proud of myself :)

    • louise danger

      congrats! :D

    • JC

      Congratulations! The whole process of getting in is so stressful, and now it’s officially over with a great outcome!

  • Suzy

    Not my biggest achievement ever but it feels big right now… I developed a fear of driving very soon after passing my test 3.5 years ago, and haven’t driven since.
    This week I finally bit the bullet and booked myself a driving confidence lesson for nervous drivers, which is tomorrow morning! I’m incredibly scared but hoping this is the first step to breaking my fear. Wish me luck!

    • TrueGrit

      Best of luck! You got this! Good for you for taking the next step!

    • Conquering serious fears, man, that’s an accomplishment.

    • scw

      I share your fear of driving. it’s one of my goals this year to get more comfortable driving our car. please report back in happy hour to let us know how your lesson went!

      on some open thread a long time ago (in a galaxy far away), I wrote about being more afraid of pregnancy/childbirth than raising children. meg said something very roughly along the lines of ‘it’s not only valid it to be afraid of pregnancy, it’s smart.’ I kind of feel that way about driving, too. I mean, for our own well-beings we should be able to drive ourselves around, but I think it’s maybe not the worst thing to not take driving lightly.

      • Suzy

        Thanks for your support- will definitely update in Happy Hour. I’m glad I’m not the only one! I think I remember that thread, and agree about it applying to driving. Whenever I talk about it people say ‘it’s a good thing to worry about it, there are a lot of drivers out there who SHOULD worry, but don’t give a damn!’ Which I guess is true. Will see how tomorrow goes and take it from there!

      • Gaby

        Yes! I used to call cars “giant death machines that everyone gets access to” as a teen. I’m comfortable enough to drive myself around but I avoid highways when it doesn’t affect my time too much and let the hubs drive when we’re together. Driving is scary and taking it seriously is smart!

    • Lisa

      You are strong and brave, and this class is going to be really good! *play this on repeat*

    • savannnah

      I got my license at 25 after living in big cities with great public transportation and now I drive 30 miles to work and back every day. I hate having to own and depend on a car but I live in the NY metro area, have put 78000 miles on my car in 3 years and regularly drive in Boston, manhattan and Philly (Boston is the worst by far) I would never have thought in my wildest 24 year old dreams that I would be where I am now in terms of driving but I do like to freedom of getting in my car and going some place!

      • Suzy

        In awe of your bravery! I live in the UK and the thought of driving in the small cities near me is terrifying, let alone huge US ones!

    • Emily

      Oh man I am also terrified of driving. I applaud you for taking that leap!

      • Suzy

        Thanks- so glad I’m not the only one! The lesson went really well today and I feel soooo much better about it. Fiancé is enquiring about insuring me on his car as we speak :)

        • Emily

          YAYYYY!!! That’s so awesome!!

          • Suzy

            Thanks :D feeling proud! Just got to keep up a little practice every day I think.

  • Michigan Sara

    *I’m only 33 and I’ve been a manager of a team of 14 people for 4 years (only 2 years after joining my department.
    *I’m leading a project to replace our existing warehouse management system with a new system that actually works for what we need to do going forward. Said new system has the potential to provide 20% cost avoidance and has an estimated ROI of 2 years.

  • Anon for this

    Honestly, while I get the perspective of this piece and I cheer everyone on, I’m still uncomfortable truly bragging about pretty much anything in my life.

    I’ve had an inordinately charmed life much of which can be explicitly tied back to the fact that my parents are well-off, frankly. I’m proud of my career successes, but I’m also highly aware that I’ve had multiple legs up in the corporate world that many of my peers haven’t. Also getting married, starting a family, purchasing a house…all of these were easier because of the foundation given to me through societal and familial luck. It’s a fact that I can’t ignore when taking stock of my life and my accomplishments.

    This isn’t to say that I haven’t worked hard in my life; I certainly have. On my job, my marriage, my kid…I put my all into each of these to ensure the best possible outcomes. I’m genuinely proud of what I do and what I’ve done. But it’s still sometimes hard to feel like I’ve truly “earned” any of it (not in a self-pitying way, but in an honest, ‘holy shit I’m LUCKY’ kind of way).

    • emmers

      I struggle with this. I keep wanting to qualify my achievements with things like “I’ve had a great, supportive boss,” and “I was lucky to get this job,” etc etc. While those things are true, it’s also true that dudes typically don’t qualify their success in that way (i.e. “I was hired because I’m a white dude and was an alum from my white dude boss’ university”). So I feel like as women even when it feels weird, it’s important to push through to model touting our accomplishments to make it easier for other ladies, even if we’re aware that we have various advantages that helped us get those accomplishment. Others have any thoughts on this?

      • AP

        The thing about men not qualifying their success in terms of their privilege is so true. A lot of the men in my life will even actively deny that they had any kind of leg-up in getting jobs or school opportunities. I think there’s a balance we can strike that lets us acknowledge our success and privilege at the same time, but it’s tricky.

        • emmers

          Yea, I’ve had the experience where it seems like some of them just shut down with the word privilege. It’s definitely something that can be hard for some of them to understand at all, so I keep trying to drive it home with certain ones that I talk with.

      • Anon for this

        I struggle with the balance too! Part of it is that I find those Medicore White Dudes extremely obnoxious. I ran in the same crowd as a lot like that and I’m always like, “Trent, your dad is on the board so maybe that might have helped you get your first job?” and they genuinely think it doesn’t really matter. I guess I’ve never felt like modeling the same behavior–especially as a privileged white woman–really helps anyone, except possibly myself.

        But like you said, there is a great societal issue for women and their accomplishments at stake, and figuring out how to best carve out that space to support and lift up other women. It’s something I feel very passionately about and that’s why I seriously cheer on everyone contributing to this and Meg’s overall mission! Just for me, it’s a bit more complicated, I guess.

        • Antonia

          Maybe instead of women being more braggy (unless, like Mary Jo TC said above, a job, promotion or women-centric cause is on the line), Mediocre White Dudes need to get a f*cking reality check.

          Also, does anyone feel like shouting one’s accomplishments from the rooftops is an American thing? I lived for a time in the U.K., and being anything but self-deprecating was considered poor form.

          • I feel like it may be. My colleagues in other countries would be mortified by this behavior.

          • Lmba

            Okay, maybe it is a cultural thing that I am incredibly uneasy about this post. I mean, I DO think women are conditioned to be too self-deprecating, to take up too little space, to apologize for themselves instead of celebrate their awesomeness. I am behind all of that. But then when I started reading people’s actual lists of their achievements, I was like, woah woah woah, this just feels… rude? Not that I actually attribute rudeness to the writers, just that my first reaction is that this type of brag feels really inconsiderate of others.

          • EF

            i live in the uk and i truly believe it depends where you are/what sector you’re in. the city boys, in financial services? all they do is brag about what algorithm won that day, and how they were part of it. the charity sector workers will *never* say anything that resembles bragging, and i don’t think you’d get much of it up north, either.

    • Antonia

      Ditto to all this. My parents didn’t attend college and my family was working class, but I still had *incredible* support and so, so many advantages. We lived in a tiny house, drove vehicles until they basically fell apart and didn’t take vacations, but we had food on the table, presents at every holiday and money for some small “extras,” like new clothes every school year. But, I mean, we owned our own house! Owned our own vehicles! Had money to meet our basic needs, plus some left over! Worldwide, that puts us in the top 1%.

      I have a bachelor’s and master’s degree and make a good salary at a good company, and I’ve worked hard, but honestly not *that* hard. Plenty of people are way smarter and work way harder, and due to circumstances, never have the kind of success I’ve had.

      So, yeah. Ninety percent of my success? Like you, attributable to my “inordinately charmed life.”

    • Mary Jo TC

      I understand this perspective, and I thank you for complicating Meg’s wonderful and positive message by bringing this issue up. It’s important for us to recognize our privilege, and maybe in some cases checking our privilege means holding back on bragging, especially in certain contexts. I remember in happy hour someone (Lisa?) was talking about how she wanted to throw a party for herself for paying off her students loans, and we were talking about how that might go over well or poorly depending on her group of friends and their financial situations. So maybe it’s situational. It’s about not bragging among those who are struggling, or who have less privilege than you have. But on the other hand, we do need to be encouraged to toot our own horns in situations where doing so will keep us from being passed over for promotions we have earned, or will increase visibility to our causes or to women in general.

      • Anon for this

        Yes! I agree, especially on: “We do need to be encouraged to toot our own horns in situations where doing so will keep us from being passed over for promotions we have earned, or will increase visibility to our causes or to women in general.”

        Part of my privilege actually comes from having parents who encouraged professional self-advocacy in me from a young age (/I think growing up with business people as your parents is an overlooked privilege; it’s about SO much more than just the monetary situation). And I think the more privileged you are, the more it’s your responsibility to help create supportive spaces for all women to be built up.

        It was especially the social media bent that got to me as, “Oh…no, I don’t think I can do that.”

    • idkmybffjill

      Yeah same. I actually even feel uncomfortable sometiems when I’m lauded at work. I’m often singled out as exemplary (I’m an Executive Assistant who happens to take alot of interest in more responsibility etc)… which is nice. But sometimes I’m like, “I’m not sure I really deserve this I don’t even feel like I’m working that hard at this?”.

    • Amy March

      Eh? My parents were a tremendous support to me. Just like most kids in my town. And plenty of them made nothing of the advantages they had.

      • Anon for this

        Just because I didn’t squander my advantages doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be acknowledged and considered as a major, major part of my success, especially in the face of my (honestly) harder-working and smarter friends who didn’t/don’t have the same opportunities I grew up with and still benefit from. My parents’ wealth has given me a significantly easier ride in life and it feels disingenuous to deny the role that played, even if I’m not a screw-up.

        • Amy March

          I don’t see how, at all, being excited and sharing professional success implies that you don’t recognize your privilege. “Hey I did something awesome” does not also mean “I did it all by myself pretend I was born in a cabbage patch with nothing to help me.”

          • Anon for this

            For me, it’s about context. Of course there are things I’ll share that I’m excited about, but I also don’t want to be Mediocre White Dudette who doesn’t recognize the much easier path I have had. I’m not Ivanka Trump or anything, but my advantages have truly informed a lot of my adult life’s trajectory, even if I’ve been able to shape them through my own hard work and strategy. I have immense gratitude for it, but I also have a lot of feelings of personal responsibility to be aware of them.

            So as an example, I run my own company. It does very well and I’m proud of what I’ve built. However, I also recognize that my parents gave me seed money for it, paid for my rent in Boston while I was getting set up and my then-fiance was in business school, and also connected me to their professional network, who eventually became my biggest clients. They wouldn’t have done this if I wasn’t capable, but they were also actually able to do it. Most of my entrepreneur friends built from the ground up, where I was more able to fill out an already erected structure, if that makes sense. I don’t say this to be self-deprecating; I’m clear-eyed about where my success is my own and where I’ve benefited.

            So, for me, bragging about my general success on Facebook without qualifiers would feel disingenuous for me (not necessarily on smaller, specific items of success). Not saying that’s how everyone should feel! But I am personally more cautious because I think my level of privilege is above and beyond ordinary familial support.

    • Abby

      Can I just tell you (I work in Talent) that there are not just a handful but a HGUE population of well educated, wealthy children of successful parents at my company who are handed jobs and still manage to screw something up big time. It’s great that you had a bit of help, but you got to where you were going because of you.

    • EF

      you know what’s funny, is with me i think my achievements are too small and i want to shout ‘but i had no family backing — no family, even! and i was one of 6 students who went to my (top rated) university from foster care! and yeah i have loads of student loans because of all that, but i’m on a plan to have them paid off by 35!’

      maybe we’d all be better off if we weren’t afraid to share our backgrounds, too.

      • Gaby

        I always felt like it was insinuated that I was “the good kid” or above average in intelligence because I was going to college and I always felt the need to add “yes but my parents are helping pay for it and my part time job is just for textbooks and my own clothing and car costs. I live rent free and have a lot of help.” I am definitely proud of completing college and working while I did it (my little brother studies but doesn’t work due to severe anxiety), but I don’t feel guilty or hesitant to acknowledge all the help I received to make it possible.

      • CP2011

        Good for you!

  • MC

    I shared this during Happy Hour, but I got asked to apply to join the Board of Directors for an org I LOVE and have volunteered with for 3.5 years, and I submitted my cover letter and resume on Monday!

    I’ve also worked full-time for a nonprofit org for 4 years and since I started, our budget has doubled thanks to my grantwriting/fundraising efforts!

    • AP

      Wow, grant writing and fundraising are no small thing!! Way to go!

      • Jessica

        Ditto! I’ve been begging board members to go to grantwriting workshops because they have a lot of great ideas and I have to tell them we don’t have the capacity to get them done without a grant, but then they just give up (after I’m very encouraging about it and point out other board members who learned how to write grants to get cool projects done). That’s huge!

  • Brooke

    *I graduated with my bachelor’s degree (in accounting) in just 3 years from a 4 year university…with a 3.98 GPA.
    *During college, I learned to channel my insane fear of public speaking (like…beyond the normal person’s level of fear) by competing in collegiate speech and debate. I finished 3rd in the nation in Public Forum debate my first year, and at my final tournament in college I placed 5th nationwide in the Broadcast Journalism event
    *My student loans were paid off in full less than one year after my college graduation. Paying for school completely on my own was a fun challenge, and it gave me a huge sense of value in my education
    Really, I’ve built a lot of my identity over my lifetime as being the “smart girl”…and while that might sound boring, I’m super proud of my accomplishments and hope to continue learning and growing through new experiences.

  • AP

    Five years ago I thought my life was over- I lost my job and my marriage in a 6 month span. I moved back in with my parents, completely broke and an emotional wreck.

    Now I’m the executive director of a nonprofit I built from scratch, learning a new field and doing difficult work that I’m passionate about. I hold a respected place in my community. I’m in a healthy, thriving marriage and am working alongside my husband to be financially independent one day.

    Thanks for this post, Meg! Related, last week I had coffee with a colleague who casually mentioned she’d been at Alt Summit the week before, and I totally geeked out with jealousy that she got to hear you speak!

    • Green

      I would love to hear more about how you’ve built your non-profit. Is there anyway we could connect? Do you have a blog? I’m in a new role that feels very entrepreneurial *cough* overwhelming, and would love to learn from people who have made it work.

      • AP

        Sure! I don’t have a personal blog, but my email is (I’ll come back in a bit and delete my email address.)

    • Jessica

      That’s so good! Congratulations!

  • A2

    1. Last year I got laid off from a job I loved but was not loving me back (pregnancy discrimination, reluctance to give me raises, etc., etc.) Driving out of the parking structure I called a colleague who had offered me a job that I had turned down out of loyalty. I interviewed with her a week later.
    2. The job in #1 didn’t work out (she still wanted to hire me, but due to ongoing organizational restructuring was prevented from doing so). I had a few other interviews but ended up re-employed doing the work I love within 5 weeks of being laid off. I had a new job before my severance from the old one ran out.
    3. The job I got came with an EIGHTEEN PERCENT PAY RAISE and I should have asked for more (they gave me the top end of my salary range without batting an eye).
    4. My new job has opportunities ripe for the picking and they treat me like I’m smart. After years of feeling passed over and trying to find a way to break apart from the pack, it feels great.

    • This sounds like it worked out so amazingly well. Congrats!!

      • A2

        Thank you! If I’m being honest, 9 months later I’m still working through the emotional baggage of being laid off, but being appreciated and well-compensated at my new job helps a lot :-)

        • AP

          That baggage is real! Everyone said at the time of my layoff that one day I’d look back and see it as the best thing that ever happened to me…and while I’m not sure that’s entirely true, in the trajectory of my life it was a major game-changer for the better. It just takes time! Congrats on your new job, it sounds wonderful!!

          • A2

            It really is! One of the biggest challenges for me is that my old employer is seen as more “prestigious” in my the field than my current employer . . . so, because they let me go am I now “less than” all my former colleagues? If I do really well at this new job will I always wonder if I could have done just as well at the old one? When my brain gets trapped in these cycles I try to remember that *they were not good to me.* Telling anyone, but especially a visibly pregnant woman, that they don’t have a future in your company is not nice. Telling a visibly pregnant woman that she’s not allowed to use her boss’s contacts to solicit new projects is not only not nice, it’s discriminatory. When I start to feel sad about my layoff again, I try to remember all this, plus the good things about my current employer. It’s hard, but I’m making slow progress. Ultimately my goal is to be able to see my layoff as a good thing, rather than a good thing, but . . . (insert self-defeating reasons here).

          • AP

            Ugh, that all sounds awful! It sounds like you are much better off now! But I think mixed feelings are totally normal. One thing that gave me a lot of comfort at the time- reading biographies of successful people who had been fired or laid off during their careers:) Oprah, JK Rowling, Jerry Seinfeld…

        • Danielle

          I was also laid off while pregnant, about 4 months ago. And I just accepted a new job that will start next week! It seems like it will be a much better culture fit, but I am still struggling with the anxiety that I won’t be “good enough” in my new job (that was one of my boss’ main complaints about me in the end – although she brought it up in a horrible way). I am doing some reading and research in advance of starting the position, to proactively address that…

          Good on you for being appreciated and well-compensated at your new job! That is wonderful and gives me hope :)

  • sage

    I’ve been in my field for 6 years now, and from the beginning I have excelled and been praised by my employers for my good work product and for being reliable and easy to work with. When I left my previous employer to move to the firm I have been with for nearly three years, they threw me a huge going away party with bottomless margaritas because they were sad to see me go, and they wanted nothing more than for me to come back. I hang out with some of them from time to time and they still want me to move back there. On top of that, I know of at least 2 other firms in town that have expressed interest in hiring me if I ever felt like making a change. So yay job security! The best part is that I love the firm I work for now. It is a stable place to work, allows me a ton of autonomy and flexibility, gives me time off for international travel and (some day) paid maternity leave, and compensates me highly for the technical work I do for our clients without requiring me to work insane hours.

    I know I am extremely lucky to have gotten to this place so early in my career… but I also worked my ass off to get here and am proud of these accomplishments.

  • TrueGrit

    Lately I’ve been struggling with my work, feeling a little down on myself, and experiencing imposter syndrome, but here are some things I’ve proud of:

    – I have nine publications as a masters student, which is not shabby at all.
    – My adviser raves about my presentation abilities, and is having me present to our funders in his absence next week.
    – I am getting better at some software and analyses that seemed impossible a few months ago.
    – I have no idea what my next career move is going to be after my master’s degree, but because of my good financial planning in the past, I am okay with it and prepared for whatever ups and downs may come. Thank you, past self!

    And though this is not career-related at all, I am VERY proud of the strong, healthy, and loving relationship I’ve cultivated with my soon-to-be husband, and the fact that we just got engaged in a very egalitarian, feminist, way and are planning a ceremony on our own terms (thanks, APW, for all the encouragement in that realm)!

    • scw

      nine publications isn’t even in the same realm as shabby! that’s great!

      • TrueGrit

        Thank you!

    • Essssss

      Daaaaaanng! 9 publications as a masters student?! Heck yea.

      • TrueGrit

        To be fair, the vast majority of those are from the job I had before I even started my master’s degree, so it’s not like I did all that in two years… but it helps me to remember that I have loads of research experience, I know what I’m doing, and I’m capable of all the projects I’m taking on now!

        • Amie Melnychuk

          Don’t downplay and excuse it away. THAT’s 9(!!!!) PUBLICATIONS!!!

          Own it.

          • TrueGrit

            Omg you’re right. Scratch my previous comment! I OWN MY PUBLICATIONS!

  • Angela’s Back

    I taught myself to crochet and then I crocheted my wedding dress. And it looked awesome :)

    • Ashlah


      • Angela’s Back
        • scw


        • Ashlah

          Wowza! That’s fantastic! How many hours of work was that?

          • Angela’s Back

            I started in July and I guess I finished in September? The pattern is pretty simple, it just takes longer as you go because you’re increasing the skirt every other row. I half-watched most of the Resident Evil series while crocheting this dress.

          • Lisa

            It turned out beautifully!

        • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

          That is gorgeous! I love how the texture matches your veil!

        • That is breathtakingly beautiful!

        • Sarah

          Wow!! Just beautiful!

          • Angela’s Back

            aw, thanks you guys! It’s nice to have so many warm fuzzies on a Wednesday afternoon :)

        • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

          Holy moly!

        • hummingway

          So cool! Good for you ???

  • scw

    I love this post, I love apw, I love meg.

    1. I wrote a few weeks ago that I was in the trenches with my dissertation. I was able to submit it on time (a day early actually) and it was accepted by my advisor. the final copies are out to my committee, I have a defense date, and I’m registered for may graduation. this open thread feels really relevant to me because I felt fine writing in happy hour about my stress, but I haven’t been participating much in any recent happy hours because it felt too braggy.

    well, fuck that! let me brag some more.

    2. my boss recently told me he’s been trying to find a permanent position for me in the office where I’ve been working as I finish my phd. he hasn’t had luck finding the money, but he said he’s still working on it. it is really nice to hear that he’s pushing hard. the whole office is newish and he said I kept them afloat last year. he also described me as needing “absolutely no guidance or supervision,” so I need to figure out how to subtly drop that in future interviews. or, you know, not so subtly.

    3. my husband and I are in a really stressful life transition (me finishing the phd and looking for a job, him starting a new job and working to build a client base) and we are killing it at prioritizing self care and each other. I’m really proud of him/us.

    • LJane

      My favorite way to mention stuff like that is “the praise I’ve received that I value most is…” Or “my favorite thing my last supervisor said about me is…” Allows you to show your priorities while still presenting that information as a statement of fact, rather than appraisal. But I am admittedly uncomfortable with self-appraisal, so, yanno, 2¢.

  • Fushigidane

    I only recently realized how good I am at my job. I’ve always just gotten things done without thinking about them, but I realized that I possibly do the work of multiple people.
    I am a temp worker who is given reign to make my own formulas when most just work from batch sheets, and this started within the first month.
    I was the first name listed on an invention record filed at my company.
    I have worked directly with others in different departments to work on projects instead of everything being passed through my manager (still a temp).
    I supervise work being done with our formulas in the pilot plant.

  • ruth

    I’ve written 3 novels, gotten two of them published with HarperCollins in 2016, and another one in the works! And they asked me to speak at New York Comic Con. And I also got a promotion with a 15% raise at my day job. Meg you are so right – bragging feels really uncomfortable! That story you shared about the dude with the chutzpah to ask strangers for 10 million gave me all sorts of feelings. My hubby and I would love to start an interactive fiction venture, but I’m terrified by the idea of asking for sums like that. I also wonder – if I, as a woman, were to make a pitch like he did, boldly and apologetically – would it go the same way for me as it did for him? It sucks, and fills me with rage, but we are perceived so differently. I’m wondering if this direct approach would even work for women like me, or if I have to stick with what Cheryl Sandberg so aptly and depressingly called “being relentlessly pleasant.”

    • I’ve seen studies that say the direct approach doesn’t work as well for women as men AND that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pitch. I’ve had to bite the bullet in terms of being more aggressive with trying to get sales for my freelance business, I think the single most helpful mindset thing for me has been “don’t say no for them.”

      Whoever you are thinking about pitching to is a grown-up who is fully capable of saying no. Don’t do it for them :).

    • You know what would make this an even better brag? If you shared the titles of your books so we can all go out and support you as an awesome author by buying them :)

      • ruth

        You’re so right! Guess I don’t really how to brag! OK, so I write fantasy novels under the name Ruth Vincent – the first book is titled ELIXIR and the second book is UNVEILED (they’re books 1 & 2 of my Changeling P.I. urban fantasy series, with Harper Voyager Impulse.) Thanks for checking them out- hope you enjoy! And thanks for the bragging encouragement :)

  • Sarah

    I am an immigration attorney, so I’m in the trenches with Twitler’s executive orders nonsense. I feel validated in my choice of occupation now that people are finally paying attention to what I’ve been screaming about for years.

    My husband and I have 2 jobs that each require a bit of a commute, one car, a baby, and no outside childcare. We make it work. Our kid is happy and healthy and my husband and I still like each other.

    I own my business (with a partner)

    I learned Spanish as an adult. That shit is hard.

    I took only 6 weeks off after having my baby, exclusively pumped breastmilk, and still managed to take more clients and manage more employees than ever last year. That was the same year that my associate attorney and favorite legal assistant both quit, grandma died, and husband abruptly lost job.

    (I wouldn’t recommend exclusively pumping or only taking 6 weeks off – it was miserable – but from the outside I made it look as if I rocked that shit)

    • Sarah

      Oh also – HOW COULD I HAVE FORGOTTEN TO MENTION THIS?? – I have anxiety. Like the legit diagnosed, medicated kind. No longer medicated though. It used to cripple me, but now it doesn’t. Now it’s just in the background so I can more or less get my shit done. That’s a win.

      • Sarah – not aside from the anxiety but taking the anxiety into account, OMG you are amazing. You are HANDLING life, pro and home, and it’s awesome. And a VERY special thank you for your job choice and being in the trenches for this totally bananas time. My parents were refugees and I wouldn’t have the success I did if we weren’t welcomed to this country when they immigrated. I’m forever grateful to the people who fight to uphold the ideals we have in this country.

        • Sarah

          aw, thanks!

    • JC

      Oooh how did you go about learning Spanish? It has been on my to-do list for a long time.

      • Sarah

        Between law school and my real job I took a volunteer position in a South American country. I spent the first month in Spanish class 6 hours per day, then the next three months when I was working I didn’t learn much because my roommate and coworkers all spoke English. When I started my real job I used my vacation time to go to a Central American country for an intensive Spanish program (8 hours per day) for two weeks. Then over the past 8 years I have just been speaking it at work all the time. I still can’t understand anything on the TV or even a lot of small talk. But I can explain complex legal issues, as long as they are immigration-related.

      • If you want a easy way to learn a language on the internet, Duolingo might be a fun way to get started with some basics. I’m using it to relearn/refresh a language I used used ago but set aside. I do about 5 or so minutes everyday so it is manageable as a habit to add into my already busy schedule…

    • Jessica

      I feel like you would intimidate me irl because of how badass you are. And anxiety on top of that? Wow!

      • Sarah

        It’s only because I didn’t list the ways in which I am a hot mess. Case in point: I am on the internet right now when I should be either working or entertaining my kid.

  • Trinity

    20 months ago, I left a low-paying–but very safe–position at a company I’d been with for over 7 years for a corporate communications position at a Fortune 500 company–for a 50% pay increase. I rocked it at the new job, and within 8 months was negotiating a new title and better salary.

    At the same time, 8 months after taking the corporate communications position, a competitor of the company I’d left reached out to me and offered me a position similar to the one I’d had, but with a much better title and better benefits.

    When they didn’t offer me enough money, I rejected their offer–and ultimately negotiated a better salary AND a signing bonus.

    Thanks to the signing bonus, my husband and I pulled off purchasing our first house just a few weeks later!

    Two months later, after almost a year of trying, we found out we were pregnant. A month later, we finally adopted a shelter dog, which my husband has dreamed of for ten years.

    Now I’m in a job with flexible hours and good pay, which will allow me to continue working full time AND afford a great child care center. And my new company has tuition reimbursement, so I’m finally starting to plan to get my MBA.

    Hustling was scary, but I’m so glad I did it!

    • Em

      So much respect!!!

    • ky

      Congrats, that is a LOT! And all exciting :) Any tips on making the move from comfortable to successful?? I’ve also been at a safe, comfortable low paying job for 7 years (well 3.5 years in current role, but 7 years at the same company). It’s in publishing so the low pay is fairly typical and I have flexible hours (work from home 2 days/week) and perks that come with magazine work, but the politics of this particular organisation can be painful and I haven’t felt stretched/challenged for a long time. I naively thought that my experience project managing our flagship titles and managing a team of six, plus my accumulated writing/editing experience and degree would put me in good stead for making the move to higher paid comms work should I need/choose to make the jump, but every time I’ve dipped my toe in the water and sent out applications (probably a dozen serious apps a year) I get maybe one or two interviews, no second interviews, no offers and – when I’ve asked – token/useless feedback. I’d like to have another role under my belt before TTC (and some extra money to pay off debts first wouldn’t go astray) but the corporate comms world seems off limits except to those who already work there. Any suggestions??

      • Trinity

        Great questions! I actually work in publishing myself. When I left my original position 20 months ago, it was after several months of applying to all sorts of jobs in both marketing and communications. I was open to the type of position I’d eventually have, as long as I could get a significant pay increase, would be at a corporate (not family-owned) company, and would have access to professional development (like tuition reimbursement). When I applied to the Fortune 500 company, it was originally for a writing position–which they put on hold, and then they offered to let me interview for a community engagement position. I was open to the opportunity, and after 6 months(!) of interviewing there, I finally started. Based on my skill set, the position morphed into a great combination of community engagement, corporate communications, and foundation support. (I should note that during this 6 months period, I also had quite a few phone and in-person interviews at other companies that led absolutely nowhere.)

        So my suggestions? Make sure you have some really good references to back you up. Apply, apply, apply! And know what you want in your next role–but maybe be open to what the specifics of that role will be, as you don’t know what kind of opportunities could present themselves within that role.

        • ky

          Thanks for sharing this! Six month process sounds intense but also awesome that they tailored something to your specific experience/skill set – that has to be the best kind of opportunity. I spent Sunday afternoon labouring over another four job apps in diverse industries (but all marketing/comms), so will see what happens I guess. (PS: I SO hear you on wanting my next company not to be family-owned(!) That has been a special kind of torture. The size of the company definitely led to opportunities I wouldn’t have had in bigger/corporate companies in the beginning, but now there’s nowhere else to move and the boss’ wife/receptionist is driving me crazy on the daily!)

          • Trinity

            I hear you on the lack of growth opportunities at small/family-owned companies. Good luck with everything!!

  • Rose

    Bragging rights feel a little thin on the ground for me right now (I’m in the thick of dissertating with no plan for next year lined up yet, and I just had an article rejected), but:

    * I’ve had a phone interview for a tenure-track position, and just got a request for another one for a good postdoc fellowship, which I’d completely convinced myself I stood no chance at. While it’s not major success on the job market, getting a job without a postdoc, even at a teaching college, is getting pretty rare in my field, so I’m trying to be pleased (and hoping one of the postdocs works out).

    * My teaching evaluations from my first course as the instructor (I got a fellowship to design and teach a class last semester) were quite good, and the chair of my department particularly congratulated me on them.

    • A postdoc *can* be the perfect breath of fresh air before diving head first into tenure-track. I highly recommend postdocing so long as it’s at a different institution than your PhD-granting one. Also, some liberal arts colleges even have postdoc fellowships, which is interesting…

      Congrats and good luck!

      • Rose

        Thanks! The main thing is that as much as I like research, what I really love is teaching. Which makes 2-3 years of full time research not all that appealing. I’ve applied for several postdocs that would include teaching experiences, though, so I’m really hopeful about one of those.

        • Teaching load may differ based on the PI as well. You might be able to find a position where your mentor lets you co-teach a class (this will take some of the teaching load off their plate).

          The main job of a postdoc is to get another job. If your main goal is to end up at a primarily undergraduate institution…then you should be able to discuss this with your potential postdoc mentors and make an increased teaching load a possibility. But maybe not. Depends on your field.

  • sparagmos

    My first thought on reading this was, “Man, I don’t have anything to contribute here. My job doesn’t pay well, and I don’t like it very much.”

    But then I remembered! Earlier this year I was moved off of the project I’d been supporting for four and a half years (since I had been hired), where I was a trusted team member, onto a different project that needed more hands. It took a while to get adjusted, but now I’m working effectively on this new project. And this week when my manager tried to move me off of this project onto another new one, my team lead objected forcefully because she thinks I do such a good job on this project. My manager did some more reshuffling on project assignments, and now I will be staying on the project I’ve spent the last year supporting, in addition to helping out on a totally new project that will include making decisions on how it will be run. It’s not more work, since she also added an extra support person on the first project, so I’m left feeling good that my work is appreciated where I am and that I’m trusted to help get a new thing started.

    • scw

      this great! I feel like this is a good example of how our hesitance to be seen as boastful can make our brains default to “I don’t have anything to contribute here” when that’s not true at all.

      • emmers

        I went through years of this, not feeling good enough. I still feel like an imposter sometimes, though less frequently now. I feel like women/men in positions of power (whatever that looks like) have an obligation to mentor people just starting out, especially the timid, tentative ones.

    • Eenie

      I’m unemployed at the moment (and have been for almost 10 months…) but prepping for an interview has really reminded me about the things I’ve still accomplished.

      • emmers

        Unemployment can be so demoralizing. I’m glad you’re remembering your accomplishments. Hang in there, Eenie!

  • NotMotherTheresa

    I’m really smart. I made a 33 on the ACT, and a 168 on the LSAT. I made it through high school, undergraduate, and law school with decent grades despite barely opening my textbooks. I passed the bar exam with relatively minimal effort.
    I’ve done jackshit with my life, and I’ve more or less wasted every bit of potential I ever had, but I am smart.

    • Jess

      I relate to this comment much more than I care to admit.

      • Mary Jo TC

        Me too.

    • CP2011

      So get this: I read your comment and was trying to remember what the scoring system was for the LSAT– my husband took it about 5 years ago– so I asked him what he got on it. I mentioned that I was reading a comment where someone was bragging about getting a 168, and my husband then responded and said “he (meaning you, the commenter) got 168 out of 180.” I said, “what makes you assume it’s a guy??” And he replied that it was the wording bragging that made him automatically think it was a man!

    • As someone else who breezed through school, and then got frustrated that life doesn’t actually reward you for being smart in the same way (where’s my gold star?), something that really helped me was breaking down the skills that made me school smart:

      1) I am good at taking on board new information, regardless of the manner in which that information is conveyed. I learn equally well by rote as I do being present with a challenge (provided there are wrong and right answers). I struggle more when left entirely to my own devices; I much prefer some level of structure or guidance and would really suffer if I was self-employed.
      2) I’m good at interpreting instructions. We got taught what was called ‘exam technique’ at school, which for a long time I thought was a good way for a school to ensure it does well in the league tables without giving its students any practical skills. However, what it has made me really good at is application forms: I know exactly what those suckers are really asking for, and how to reinterpret my skills and hobbies in a way that meets those unspoken criteria.
      3) I have a good short and medium term memory.
      4) I’m thorough and detailed orientated.
      5) I’m not a perfectionist. I’d rather see a good job finished than a perfect job drag on.
      6) I’m am a very curious person. I know a bunch of random facts, which means I can usually place my hands on some kind of conversation starter, at least.

      The thing is, you get told so often at school that being smart is an achievement in itself, and that it means you have all this potential non-smart people don’t have. And it’s not true. Being smart is a set of skills like being sporty is a set of skills; the difference is if you’re smart people don’t push you to diversify, which means when you hit actual adulthood you’re often underprepared for it. Potential is a door with many locks, and just because you’ve got the biggest, shiniest key doesn’t mean you can use it on every keyhole. If you want to do more, look at the skills you don’t have, and find ways to acquire them. See what doors they open. But don’t feel like a failure if you don’t: if you’re happy, then you are fulfilling your real potential.

      My ‘smart’ skills are perfect for the low level office job I’m in. I like my employer and the things they stand for. I make enough money to fund my lifestyle, have enough free time to enjoy my hobbies, and enough love to keep me happy. Sure, I could do more with my life, but honestly, I don’t know if I could do better.

      • LadyJanee

        This was really helpful to read. I was always the smart one through school and I got through my law degree with decent grades and minimal effort (even though I never wanted to actually be a lawyer) and since I left university just over 4 years ago, I have feeling like I’m floundering and have no idea what I’m doing or where I should be.
        I’m going to break down my ‘smart skills’ in this way and see what that means to me. I have recently been itching for a career change so this could be very informative.

        • Law is a really useful to degree to take into any profession, at least (I did English Lit, but found my zen making spreadsheets and graphs) – you can talk it up as public speaking, dealing with complex bureaucracy, research skills, being able to see both sides of an argument, strong communication skills, and so on. Journalism could be a good shout, or advocacy work for a large charity, or even teaching, depending on which skills you want to capitalise on. I work for an advice charity that has a specialist team who research case law in order to prevent people having to go to court (nothing stops a creditor in their tracks like citing evidence they’ll lose if they try it) and influence government policies. There’s a lot of space in the world for law graduates to make an impact outside of courtrooms if you know where to look.

          • LadyJanee

            That’s very true. I would ultimately like to do some research and analysis work for NGOs and I am looking into other similar roles with private companies/government agencies but it seems like every job requires specific qualifications and multiple years of experience in a similar role! I am working on up-selling myself though and highlighting my transferable skills as this is something I have not done as well as I could have in the past.

      • NotMotherTheresa

        That is actually a really, really great idea! I’m definitely going to take the time to actually break down what concrete skills I have, and to think about how they can be put towards something other than standardized tests!

        Also, I absolutely love your analogy about potential being a door with many locks, and the big, shiny key not necessarily working on every keyhole. I’m so bad about beating myself up for not being able to open every lock, but the way you put it, it absolutely makes sense!

        Thank you so much!

  • Green

    I quit my job as an assistant in a small to mid-size non-profit in favor of a leadership position in a tiny non-profit (ok, I’m the only staff…), because I am highly educated, tired as hell of having “assistant” as part of my job title, and ready to earn more money. I may not have a clear idea of what I’m doing on the day to day, but I have a pretty reasonable idea of what needs to happen and I am ready to slay this beast.

    • Jessica

      Only staff person support network right here! It’s hard sometimes, but I get to play whatever music I want and control my own schedule, which is great!

  • scw
  • Mallory2

    I started a new job within my current agency this past Monday. After 5 years as a front line social worker, I am now the clinical supervisor. In the position shift, I got a 17k raise. My first financial goal it to top out my IRA contribution this year (long-term yearly goal that has thus far been unrealistic); my second financial goal it to plan a trip to Europe.

  • Sosuli

    Last week I had a total meltdown after receiving two post-doc and one job rejection all at once, so this is going to be hard but necessary…
    *I finished my PhD at age 27, and passed my viva (dissertation defense in UK speak) with no corrections – not even any typos
    *I managed to gain two scholarships during my PhD, meaning I not only avoided going into debt, but paid off one of my student loans and personally saved up a quarter of our wedding money
    *I recently had an article accepted in THE top journal in my field
    *I won a scholarship to be a visiting ECR at a nearby university this month, and get to give a research seminar to staff there tomorrow

    I may be struggling to find a job at the moment, but I need to remind myself that it is a really tough market right now (especially in the humanities and in the UK) and I am doing my best.

  • rg223

    It’s very, very hard for me to talk about my accomplishments, not from the standpoint of not wanting to brag, but because it puts me in the headspace of comparing my best accomplishments to those of my peers, and I get bitter (which is so petty, because I am very privileged and had so many great opportunities and am very close to leading my dream life). And I hate being That Person if I can just not think about it and not even go down that road. Buuuuut, in the spirit of trying to be a better person:

    *I posted about this on a Happy Hour recently, but I got hired to write a script for a preschool TV show, which has been a career goal since I was 14 years old, and has been my biggest break in my writing career.

    *I am at a job now where the team really listens to my ideas and feedback and values me quite a lot. I’m proud of the product we make, and actually, aside from my first job right out of college, I have never worked at a job where I was unhappy or felt like I wasn’t doing something important (even when I wasn’t in this industry).

    *I am working with a friend and writing partner on a project, and I’m surprised at how well the collaboration is going! I’m excited to have something to shop around to different places, and since my friend and I are on opposite coasts, we can pursue different venues to showcase it.

    *Living my dream life (see above): I live in the city I always dreamed of living in with the husband and baby I always wanted, and in an industry I wanted to work in forever. I might not be as successful as I wanted to be at this age, but in broad strokes, I’m doing so well.

    • NolaJael

      “it puts me in the headspace of comparing my best accomplishments to those of my peers, and I get bitter” … this is real. I really struggle with this, too.

  • Eenie

    -I studied and passed the FE exam two years out of school.
    -I took a part time consulting gig at the urging of my husband and killed it.
    -I’m preparing for an interview tomorrow for a position that is suited to my strengths, what I want to do with my career, and provides plenty of growth opportunities.

  • Alyssa

    Five years ago, I made a career change from Statistics to get into the mental health field. I’m extremely proud of how far I’ve come, especially because I could have easily secured finance jobs from either of my parents, but chose to forge my own way and have been on the whole, very successful so far with it, and built my now awesome resume entirely from hoping people would take a chance on someone with a lot of enthusiasm, but little on-the-ground experience. I’ve been looking for MFT Internship placements for next year to finish my hours (I’m way ahead of most of my graduating class on collecting my 3,000 hours), and I’ve gotten interviews from probably 75% of internship sites, and regularly get comments on how “impressive” my counseling experience is. Ever since I started in mental health I get feedback that I am a “natural”, and I can’t explain what a relief it is to find a profession that you not only like, but are “natural” at. I didn’t think it was possible.

    Because of our financial situation, I’m also managing to be the predominant saver for our housing fund, and am paying for pretty much every other expense for our wedding solo aside from my parent’s contribution (my fiance works at a job that barely covers his monthly bills, which is why the extraneous stuff falls to me). It’s the first year since college that I feel competent both interpersonally and financially, and it feels *so good* to finally feel self-sufficient.

    • Her Lindsayship

      I really relate to your last sentence. I’m still working on getting into a field that I love, but just getting a regular paycheck and benefits and being able to save as well as afford to treat myself now and then… it’s so amazing. I hope I never take this for granted. Congrats on your transition to a new field, sounds like you rock!!

  • Lisa

    * I was just asked today if I wanted to be the managing editor for the journal I work for (and love)! This is huge, particularly because I work remotely and the rest of the staff is in the same location. I’m not sure if I’ll accept because I want what is best for the journal and am nervous about taking on so much from afar, but it still feels great to be recognized.
    * Despite living on a graduate student stipend, I still manage to tithe for charity, max out my IRA, and save for major life goals (currently the wedding) while feeling like I live well (albeit very carefully with a budget to keep me on track). I’m rocking my finances. And yes, I am thankful and privileged to not have student loans.
    * I started taking krav maga classes and am developing the skills & strength to defend my 5’2” self against people of all shapes & sizes. When a burly six-foot dude puts me in a choke hold and I can break it & defend myself, I feel all sorts of awesome.

    • rg223

      Your answer about wanting to do what’s best for the journal proves you should take the position. And I really want to take self-defense classes too! Good for you!!

      • Lisa

        Thanks rg223! That’s so affirming and totally calms my nerves about such a big decision. Also, you should totally take self-defense classes if you’re interested in doing it! My instructor keeps things light & funny, so it doesn’t feel intimidating at all even though I’m not athletic. And depending on where you live you can probably find a Groupon or similar deal that allows you to try it out for a month without committing. My partner and I had talked about doing it for years, and finally signed up after seeing so much anti-semitism and violence directed at people of color. Hopefully we’ll never have to use this training, but it’s definitely reassuring to have it.

    • I’d like to say that I know this can be done remotely, and well, so I hope you choose to take it on if it’s the right fit for you!

      Yay for rocking your finances!!

      • Lisa

        Thanks Revanche!

  • Colleen

    I’m a successful freelance editor and proofreader. I have contributed to award-winning projects. I’m continuing to work to build my career in a male-dominated industry (hobby games) while expanding to other areas.

    I’m also an immigration paralegal but I’ve made a decision to limit that work to only ethical companies and organizations. To improve my immigration paralegal opportunities, I’m learning Somali and Spanish and taking other continuing education classes.

    I’m still looking for additional work but my ethics are important and my sanity is necessary.

    • Lisa

      So awesome that you’re learning Somali and Spanish!

  • driftless

    In the last 1.5 years I’ve graduated with 2 master’s degrees; moved from a big city to a teeny town; got married; started a job as the director of a new nonprofit (and I’ve been doing well, 1 year and counting); and went from someone who was terrified of public speaking to accepting an offer to be a lecturer at the nearby university to teach one course. It is hard, and made harder by all sorts of health issues with our fathers right now, but feels good to feel like I’m doing work of which I feel proud.

    • Suzy

      Eek, you are my role model re: driving! I’ve avoided driving out of fear for 3 years, but I’ve just accepted a new job at a college and am determined to not have to get the bus for an hour each way with 16 year olds every day. I have a 2 hour lesson tomorrow morning so will be telling myself that if you can get comfortable, I can too :)

      • driftless

        You totally can! I sometimes felt silly, but for the first several weeks I didn’t listen to podcasts or answer my phone (even with bluetooth) or even listen to the radio sometimes, because it all felt too distracting. I can’t promise that I love driving now (I don’t) but I know I can do it. Feels so good to say that. Even though I love public transit.

        • Suzy

          Not silly at all! That makes me feel better: comfortable is my goal for now, loving it is just a bonus that may or may not come later. I’m also really not a fan of public speaking either so kudos for that!

  • Laura C

    I hate bragging so much. I hate watching men do it, I hate that it works. I am acutely aware of my giant amount of privilege, which has gotten a healthy assist from luck.

    But you kinda convinced me, so:

    In the past week, people have spent well over 1.5 million minutes reading things I wrote, per Chartbeat.

    I have a job and a 10-month-old but I haven’t stopped reading books and I work out three times just about every week.

    Now I’m going to stop before I say something to undercut myself, because the impulse to do so is STRONG.

    • Jessica

      You’re killing it! Also wow, that is a lot of people!

      • Laura C

        I’m a staff writer at the site ranked 101 on Quantcast.

  • Amie Melnychuk

    My husband is constantly talking about his job, and I’ve called him out on it a few times. It feels to me that he spends so much time talking about his job and promotions to people outside of our home, that when they ask me what I am up to, I am exhausted with the job talk and then never talk about mine. So when I finally do get the chance to brag or share about what I do, I’m full of his bragging about work that there isn’t space for me.

    How do others start forcing themselves to start talking about their jobs?

    • emmers

      I don’t have a solution to this. What you’ve said is true to me, but also it’s the same in my husband’s and I’s daily conversations together. I try to bring up things I do at work, since my husband does all the time, but my impulse is just to listen to him talk about his stuff, and he’ll ask about my job a little, but definitely not as much as I ask about his. I’ve brought it up a few times that we’re imbalanced in this area, and I’ve been making an effort to more freely talk about what goes on at work, both with him and the outside world. It is hard (socialization is real!), but maybe getting easier with time?

      • Eenie

        I’ve found that my husband and I have different needs when talking about work in private. He only talks about stuff if something is going really well or really poorly. I like telling him a few stories or just completely exploding about the frustrations of my job. So I almost always tell him something, but he only says something a couple times a week.

      • Amie Melnychuk

        He has worked so hard for where he is ending up now in career path, and it was hell as we were putting in those years of “earning his stripes” so it’s not like he doesn’t deserve to brag and share.

        I need to make myself say one thing for every, say, 5 minutes he takes up. And force those things to be positive about myself and accomplishments.

        • emmers

          This is key. Just the repetitiveness.

    • Arie

      I have asked my husband to think about this and actively create openings for me in conversations with groups. I’ve explained that I have a hard time breaking into that type of conversation and initiating discussion without self-deprecation. I gave him a few phrases/ideas and it’s actually been quite successful. I try to phrase it as “use your confidence and privilege to help clear a path for me.”

      • Amie Melnychuk

        I’ve asked him to do that, maybe I need to again, especially in social situations. He has a rough time understanding how people aren’t confident. Dude can charm his way out of anything.

      • Jess

        I do this for R. He has a hard time with conversations (especially in large groups or with people he does not know well), so I tend to be like, “R did a really cool thing! Tell them about the thing!”

        I do not know if this is helpful or annoying.

        • Arie

          Ha, yeah. Before we hang out with certain people or groups I’ll tell him not to put me on the spot about certain topics. They’re usually things he’s really excited about that I’m not ready to talk about with other people yet. I have spent a lot of time explaining the concept of “other people” to my extrovert. No, I need to sit with that stuff longer before we put it out there even for our closest friends!

          • Jess

            Yeah, it’s generally small stuff since R’s not into personal or large accomplishments. But just kind of a “let’s talk about you” thing.

            We really struggle with the introvert/extrovert thing. I am a friendly introvert, and R is a shy extrovert. It’s a whole thing for us.

    • Eenie

      Does your husband need a hobby? :) Could you keep a mental list of three things you’re proud of this month? Let your husband know what they are before social situations and ask him to prompt you to talk?

      • Amie Melnychuk

        He has hobbies, loads of them. Music, home renos, and random collections that he also talks insanely about, haha.

        I like the idea of prompts before social situations. Thanks!

  • Poppy

    My dissertation advisors who are at the very top of their fields trust me enough to share privileged information with me. I’m struggling hard with imposter syndrome and the feeling that I am not achieving up to my potential, so this is the only brag I have in me today. I’m honestly just trying to survive the constant self hatred until I file and get my PhD in about six months…

    • You’ll get through it, Poppy. The dissertation-writing phase is pretty terrible. Time pretty much takes care of all these things. It’s quite an accomplishment to just get this far along in the program.

      • Poppy

        Thanks for the encouragement, zana. I will stick it out and hope time helps. Big congrats on your recent successes!!

  • Scalliwag

    This is going to get a bit long, but I think it all contributes and why it feels so “big.” I am taking control of the narrative. For timeline:
    – After years of working crazy hard and long hours without appreciation or recognition, I left crazy career track that I didn’t even like and move to a company that had me doing related work but for better pay and more reasonable hours. Was there for about 1.5 years before…
    – Last Spring I raised my hand to be rotated into a new role at my big company, which they tout as being something you can/should do.
    – With a bunch of team changes, they asked me to put the looking on hold until the summer, which I did to be a “team player.”
    – In June they said “oh, you should start looking” and pointed me towards a role that I turned down because while I was a great fit for it, it wasn’t a good career move.
    – In August, they said “oh, you have to find a new role by end of September or you don’t have any job at all.” so I took the position that I’d turned down before. So first brag is that even after telling them “no” they still wanted me.
    – In September, another team in the company proactively reached out for big title and pay increase role. I interviewed and was trying to fast track it so as not to hurt my new team. Except after going through all that and the runaround and follow up, they told me there was a hiring freeze.
    – From November – January I worked with a career coach to figure out what it is that matters to me and what’s next. I don’t have a new role yet, but I’ve been interviewing and trying to make sure that the next move I make is for me and not because I feel like I have to. I’ve gotten multiple compliments on my resume (from friends and even better, people I’m interviewing with!).

  • Her Lindsayship

    I’m currently in a job I don’t love, but I do like it here. I’m good at my job and it provides much greater stability than where I thought I would go after college. Since I’m a higher ed admin, I was able to earn a graduate certificate in a very different area than my undergrad degree for free, and guys, I aced those classes.

    So while my career isn’t currently what dreams are made of, the truth is I’ve worked very hard to get here and I’m respected for what I bring to my team. And through the courses I’ve taken, I’m heading in a direction that finally feels like the right fit for me!

  • BD

    I just realized I’ve been working in my industry for 10 years, mostly under the same employer. I fell into it kinda half accidentally, not thinking it could ever work out, learning the ropes as I went along – and now, not only am I an “old hat” but my boss considers me one of his best employees. I make more money than I ever thought I’d be capable of making. And through a series of good choices on my and my husband’s part (did I mention I married a great guy? I never expected to do that either) we live in a home we own, debt free, with money left over for retirement saving and occasional travel.

    Also, I think I’ve finally reached a healthy place with my anxiety. I know it will never totally leave me, because it’s part of how my brain works, but I at least have a handle on it, instead of my anxiety having a handle on me.

    • Sarah

      Getting to that place with your anxiety is awesome. I’m not sure I’m there yet, but I’m trying!

  • Jessica

    Personal brags:
    -Last year I changed my diet and my exercise routine and have lost 40 pounds, plus can squat 115 pounds and am working my way up to a pull-up (which I have never in my life been able to do). I’m insanely proud of what my body has learned to do in the last year, and of myself for being able to control my impulse to Eat All The Things All The Time

    -I am the only staff person at a very small and dysfunctional nonprofit. Since I’ve started here we have become significantly less dysfunctional to the point where we are on our way to cutting the Board by a lot (it used to be 40+ people, ugh), managed a transition to a new name and branding identity, and have dramatically increased our goodwill to the people we serve after a long period that the org wasn’t too popular. We are now on track to hire another person for me and get some cool interns (which is huge)

    -I have not had a huge breakdown in light of my husband’s mental illness, and was told by my new therapist that I’m handling everything extremely well given how things could have gone.

    • AP

      40 people on a board with a staff of one person?!?! I can’t wrap my mind around how that even happened.

      Also- go you! (You have a lot of people cheering you on around these parts!)

      • Jessica

        It. Was. A. Nightmare. We’re in a transition year now and have it down to 28 (16 is the end of it) but holy crap it’s like they don’t know that more people being responsible for running something makes less happen!

        Also, I love this community with all my heart and have been extremely grateful for my online cheerleaders!

    • Green

      Wow – standing ovation and slow clap. You’re kicking ass and giving hope

    • Cellistec

      I bow down to your pull-up ambition. I’ve always wanted to be able to do one (just one!), and have never had the discipline to work at it. I’d love to hear an update when you crank one out yourself! Keep at it!

      • Jessica

        Thanks! I’m using this plan (but have not achieved it in the 6 week time frame)

        It makes my entire body hurt.

        I really just needed a fitness goal to focus on that wasn’t losing weight!

        • Cellistec

          Thanks for the link- this does look doable! My building’s gym has some of the equipment so I bet I can take this on.

    • CP2011

      I am Eating All The Things today. Especially what those things involve honey mustard Goldfish. Who knew how delicious they would be??

  • SlayAllDay

    I finished my master’s thesis five days before my wedding (that I planned, with help from family and husband). And worked a (more than) full time job. And I killed it on all three. Six months ago I started making six figures at age 29 and this month I got a 10% raise because of my performance last year. This year I’m continuing the same #slayallday work ethic and finally working on myself and joined weight watchers and a gym. Down about 7 pounds in a little over a month. Hard work, but I’m motivated and nothing is holding me back.

    • Jessica

      My mouth dropped open in awe of you.

    • Gaby

      DAMN gurl

  • Sarah

    After working in a public service job for about 7 years (which was stable and had great conditions but nevertheless gave me anxiety most days) I’ve quit and this week started a PhD in a field I really love. I pushed myself to apply for the PhD last despite all the other crazy things that were going on (wedding planning, being bullied by my manager, problems with my now husband’s own studies) because I needed to do this for myself. And although I didn’t quite have the marks that would have qualified me for a government scholarship, my new research group decided to fund my scholarship instead because they still wanted me to work with them.
    I started on Monday, and after so long feeling like a square peg in a round hole, I feel like I’m in the right place and am really noticing how much less anxious I am.

  • Abby L

    A little over a year ago, I took my comprehensive exams for my PhD program. I passed all three exams, but actually received a high pass on two of them. I was the first person in the history of the PhD program to receive more than one high pass on an exam. I just wanted (and only needed) to pass, but the high passes were really special. So much of higher education can involve questioning yourself and feeling like an imposter..but this felt like validation that I was really, truly capable of this.

  • Pingback: Here Is Your Opportunity to Say Why You Slay | Wedding Adviser()

  • The two most recent accomplishments that I’m most proud of are having a happy healthy little human baby, and my APW internship. I’m really proud of my internship because I stepped outside of what I knew and tried something new, which I’m hoping will turn into my next career.

    Side note: you ladies rock! I love reading all these accomplishments!

  • Laura

    My doctoral program in clinical neuropsychology requires a 1-year, APA-accredited internship before I am awarded my Ph.D. It operates using a match model, meaning that I will wake up this Friday and have an email telling me where I will be living for the next year. (That is, if I match at all — in recent years, there has been a terrible imbalance in the number of positions compared to the number of applicants, meaning that a pretty significant number of qualified people don’t match at all, requiring them to wait another year to try again).

    Anyway, I’m hoping I will be able to brag some more on Friday once I match. But for now, I am proud of myself for getting interviews at 10 of the 14 programs I applied to, many of which are top internship sites in my field.

    Oh, and I’m also proud for teaching myself how to analyze neuroimaging data. My dissertation is more computationally and technically intense than I thought I could manage, but I’m rocking the hell out of it.

    • Jessica

      fingers crossed for a good match!

  • Kate

    I’ve realized that drawing people out of their shells is one of my biggest talents and greatest joys in life. I’m in law school and am very proud of how tight knit my “section” is (a group of 20 or 30 people I share all my classes with). It doesn’t hurt that they’re all likeable people, but from the start I’ve been very very intentional about fostering our section as a team. There were some people I definitely took a while to draw out of their shells, and I’m learning new wonderful things about everyone all the time. I’m so happy that we choose to spend our free time together, and that people feel like they can crack a joke or ask for help. I think the key has been privately roasting our professors, being vulnerable and open, and making people feel wanted. I know at least one person has said it’s the first time in their life they really feel like they have friends. Now I just have two wallflowers left, and I cannot wait to bring them into the fold.

    • NotMotherTheresa

      As someone who not only survived but actively enjoyed law school, congratulations!!!! People like you seriously make all of the difference!!! I’m still soooo thankful for the people like you who I met during my law school days!

    • lamarsh

      As someone who is still super close with a big chunk of my 30 person section five years out of law school, this makes me so happy. Law school was the first time I felt like I had found “my people.” Glad you are enjoying it!

  • G.

    This is timely — I generally use my friends as my PR agents, as I’m very uncomfortable shouting about my accomplishments (like a friend had to tell my family how big an award I received was, as I had told them I had received it, but not what it meant). At the same time, I have been very frustrated with the constant talk of (sometimes mediocre) straight white men in my field bragging about their accomplishments all the damn time. It’s especially annoying because they are, more often than not, getting the very limited number of academic jobs in my field, even though many women are better scholars. So that shouting seems to have a positive effect for them.

    Anyhow, my big accomplishment of late is that I wrote a book, which will be out next fall with the top press in my field. I also have an article about to be published in the top journal in my new area — I transitioned from Field X to Field Y with my new postdoc, and my first article in in a VIP venue, which is awesome. Or will be, when it actually gets published :)

  • Gaby

    I feel like social work is similar to teaching in that it can be hard to have concrete bullet points for our achievements. I work with 50+ elderly and disabled individuals every month and treat them like human beings. I asked for help when I felt myself getting close to burn out. That’s good enough for me right now! I do want to become a supervisor here one day to challenge myself, but I love working directly with clients so I’m in no hurry.

    • EF

      i think the other thing is, a lot of people have been on the receiving end of social work and know that you can be amazing! i met with a social worker all the time in my teens-through college (i was a foster kid, we were assigned social workers, i ended up finding one i liked) and seriously, when he said to me one day ‘you know you’re eligible for this state health insurance program, right? let’s sign you up’ it was life-changing (i also have an autoimmune condition). social workers are high-impact and so so important. so thank you for what you do!

      • Gaby

        Aw, thanks so much! I know that there can be some really ineffective social workers out there for various reasons including burn out, so it’s always good to hear someone talk about a positive experience they had with a social worker. I’ve also seen how signing up a client for something that is very common or standard in my division can be ABSOLUTELY life-changing for the client.

  • Megan

    I got the highest rating on my annual review, which usually only comes with a promotion. I got a promotion last January so I’m ineligible this year. However, I was doing such a kickass job that my boss’s managers argued to give me the highest rating even if they couldn’t give me the title bump!!

    • Megan

      Oh I forgot to mention this is in a field I have no formal training in and I joined the team with some transferrable skills but no direct experience. So I went from compete newb to highest rating two years running in 2.5 years!

  • Em

    This is hard, because this sort of bragging is culturally quite unusual in my home country. But here goes. My mentors at work called me the best junior they’d ever worked with – and they are all kick ass, amazingly well respected professionals in their own right. I was great at my job and got given amazing opportunities to do great, challenging work – work that people more senior than me didn’t get. I’m currently on a leave of absence that my company gave me for a year because I won a fully funded, super competitive full scholarship (including a living stipend!) to study for my (otherwise very expensive!) masters degree at the world’s best university, on the other side of the world from my home country. It’s a degree widely regarded as the most challenging degree in the world in my field. And I’m kicking ass while I’m here (or at least some days I feel like that. Other days I feel incredibly frustrated and flailing. But my friends here assure me I’m doing well!) Once I finish here, my company is (hopefully – still locking this down!) going to transfer me to a different office – because I asked for the opportunity, actively sought out opportunities to work with staff there, and impressed those staff with my skills.

  • EF

    I’m going through a really shit time professionally right now and feel like I’m not anywhere close (or even on the track?) of where I want to be. BUT

    -I’ve given 2 keynote speeches at conferences, and presented at 4 others! And I was chosen to be on the panel for a q&a session, which was terrifying.
    -I chaired an event on LGBT refugees in the UK! At a major NGO.
    -I caught a major, multiple millions in revenue error in the data in my last job.

    Now I just gotta convince someplace that this adds up to them giving me a new job…

  • Cdn icecube

    The timing of this article is unbelievable. I read it this morning and someof the comments and felt so depressed because I found out yesterday that I was rejected from my first choice for post-grad school. Fast forward an hour when I’m rewriting another application essay and I sent it to a friend who reminds me of all the accomplishments I need to brag about for my essay.

    Her best advice: “stop saying ‘I believe I am’ and just say ‘I am’.”

  • nutbrownrose

    I love my job. Like, I want to do my job or something similar the whole rest of my life, and my boss and co-workers appreciate the work I do. And this fall, I’m applying to go to school to do this job as a career (because when you’re a baby librarian-in-training, they make you go to library school to be a baby librarian). My boss and co-workers are all super supportive of my going back to school, and I think I’ll be able to have this job as long as I want it. I’ve never had a job I loved before. I liked a couple of them fine, but I never got to teach people how to learn, or how to not be afraid of the internet, and watch them grow as they come in every day. I’ve never wanted to go to work before.
    The only not-perfect thing about it is that it’s half-time, because it’s in the school budget to pay for 2 halves, but not 1 whole. So I also have to do not-fun job. Which is not fun. But fun job will hopefully help me get another half-time fun job, and will definitely help me get into school.

    • LP

      Library school?! That sounds awesome. I always love learning about career paths and what sort of qualifications people need in order to do their jobs. I had no idea library school even existed! That’s so cool!

  • NotMotherTheresa

    It sounds like a weird thing to brag about, but I’m proud of all I’ve accomplished in terms of basically building a happy, well-adjusted life. I mean, on paper, I don’t have much to brag about–I work a crappy job that I’m vastly overqualified for, there’s never enough money in my bank account, my husband and I are definitely in a rut right now, etc., but you know what? I have a good life! I live in a nice, comfortable house. I have enough time and money to take at least one trip per year to visit friends who live in much cooler places than I do. I have awesome, successful friends. Even though we’re in a rut, my husband and I basically have a really good relationship.
    I realize none of those things just scream Female Empowerment, and nobody’s going to ask me to give a TED talk on the glory of not completely sucking, but still, I’m actually pretty proud of myself for it all! I’ve battled depression and anxiety my entire life. My husband has battled mental health issues his entire life. I’m really socially awkward. I grew up with divorced, dysfunctional parents who provided absolutely horrible role models for what interpersonal relationships should look like. And yet, despite all of that, I’m basically okay! Somehow, despite the fact that I make poor decisions at nearly every turn, I’ve actually managed to build a pretty good, happy life!

    • JC

      Honestly, with all of the ways that women are told we’re horrible at every single thing we try, I think it’s just fine to look at your life as a whole and say, “Today, I will revel in the glory of not completely sucking!”

    • Gaby

      So, I posted a couple happy hours ago about an event I was going to that was a lecture over the feminism in Parks and Recreation. It was great and such a pick-me-up in these times! But one thing that has stuck with me a week later is that the speaker referred to Jerry as someone who defies gender norms by not excelling or really being any good at his job but excelling in every way possible in his home/personal life! I don’t think my job situation is similar to his but it did stick with me that there is so much value in that type of success and it is not celebrated or even displayed in media often.

      • NotMotherTheresa

        I absolutely love that!!!!!! I actually haven’t watched Parks and Rec (I know, so horrible of me), but I may have to start, just because Jerry sounds like my kind of guy!
        And ugh, yes, I hate that the media (and society in general) really does not celebrate that type of success! I mean, I’m so glad that media is slowly celebrating the career successes of women, but there really are still so many types of success that just aren’t acknowledged for men or women, and that is absolutely one of them!

        • Gaby

          Well, fair warning that Jerry is teased relentlessly and it takes quite a while for his story line to show that value in his other successes. He’s quite clumsy and bad at his job haha. But it definitely stuck out to me because the show’s main character is a very driven over-achieving lady. My job is both challenging and rewarding in it’s own way, but my favorite thing about this job is the freedom and stability it gives me so that the REST of my life can flourish. I also value being able to take a few trips a year as that was never something I did as a kid. And I love not taking my work home with me on weekends and being able to read and spend time with my incredible friends or family without being tied to my job at all at that time. But yes, Parks and Rec is still worth the watch :) I’m currently trying to decide between rewatching that or Golden GIrls first.

      • scw

        wow I love that.

      • MC

        Oh this is wonderful!

    • Em

      Seriously – overcoming the weight of bad relationship role models (eg dysfunctional parents) deserves a LOT of praise. It is hard and takes a lot of work – so well done to you on that (and I feel you on the depression and anxiety front as well). There is so much to be said for a happy, content life.

  • Fiona

    I was just accepted into my grad program which I’ve been taking classes in as a non-degree student, but it’s official now! Just over a year ago, I moved halfway across the country after deciding that my old work environment was toxic and I needed to go to grad school. I picked the job because I wanted to study in this program, hoping it would pay off…and it did!

    Sweet relief.

    But also, I just had my research accepted to present at a research colloquy on campus and had my research advisor tell me it was PhD proposal material. Yay!

  • LP

    I’m 23 and I’m the administrator of a nursing home. Literally there’s the owner (who’s also a woman), and I’m next in the chain of command. I have about 100 people reporting to me. I’m in charge of millions of dollars. 100ish older adults live in my community. I got my BS in 3 years because I was so determined to enter the work force and be an administrator. My goal was to become one before 25. Not to mention, my nursing home is one of the highest rated nursing home’s in the area by Medicare/Medicaid. I love this thread, because I’m so damn proud of myself, but also so scared to say that.

    • idkmybffjill

      Wow! That’s amazing! I’m proud of you too!

  • Constance

    I am having a hard time coming up with something I feel I can put in the bragbox right now… Which is probably a sign I need to. So here we go, even if I feel I have to justify mentioning every point:
    – I am finishing my PhD, with possibly the best work-life balance I’ve seen around so far.
    – I am applying for post doc fellowships and planning to move to yet a new country.
    – I got amazing feedback from my students this semester.
    – I was just asked to be supervisor for a really cool bachelor thesis.
    – I just had my 5th paper published.
    – I got the gist of networking. On occasion, I ROCKED networking, a thing that scared the hell out of me.
    – I said out loud: I want to become a professor. To multiple people.
    – I got my first serious translating job.
    – I got an offer for a monograph translation (super serious translating job!).
    – I am learning my 7th language.
    – I finally got myself to try Krav Maga, and am learning so much transferable stuff.
    – In 2016, I fell in love again, after ten years.

    But what has made all of this possible, is probably my biggest achievement of all: I have been trusting myself in every possible way for just a bit over two years now. I have allowed myself to do what I love, what feels right and necessary to me. And to possibly go wrong.

  • Alexis

    One of my classmates complimented my leadership ability today. A small thing, but it is so rare that I feel that little swell of pride at this time in my life. I’m quiet and socially anxious, and I’ve never seen myself as a leader, but I really have been pushing myself out of my comfort zone lately. So I decided to just appreciate (and believe!) her comment.

  • Booknerd

    I just started my first “career” job and I’m finally excited to tell people what I do for work. For the last couple of years I’ve started to believe that I’d never fit into that whole “find what you’re passionate about…” idea but I’m starting to reconsider. And I ran a freaking marathon a few months ago which I’m humble about in real life but here I’m going to say was badass of me ;)

    • MC

      Running a marathon is SO BADASS!

  • Carito

    I love hearing all of these women totally own up to their successes! This thread also really suits my mood right now because I just had a post-doc interview today while 6 months pregnant – and after interviews with 7 members of the team I was offered the position on the spot. Over the past year, I successfully defended my dissertation, matched at an awesome internship site, and became the president of the student board for a national organization. Feeling downright badass.

  • CommaChick

    I started a job that pays me almost double what my last one did [1.875 times as much, to be exact] and has amazing benefits, flexible hours and the opportunity to travel occasionally. It has the added bonus of being what I’ve always wanted to do. I’m also slowly but surely teaching myself to program in my spare time, which is challenging because I’m normally not a self-teacher.

  • CP2011

    I had a certain salary figure that I wanted to hit by age 25, and I did! I’m now making 10% more than that goal at age 26.
    My spouse and I were also able to leverage low interest and a huge spike in home values to refinance our home, letting us pay off $18k in student loans and remodel our kitchen!
    I’ve been feeling lost/complacent career-wise lately so I’m enjoying reading everyone’s successes.

  • Jessica

    Congrats Meg!! That’s so cool APW has been built all with earnings.

    In the last 6 months I was offered a new job, negotiated a 45% raise and signing bonus, built teams in 3 continents, developed our thought capital and generated $1.9M in new business for my firm.

    Wow. Yeah just typing that makes me realize I’ve done a lot in a short timeframe.

  • Elizabethjguthrie

    Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj189d:
    On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
    ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash189HomeSpotGetPay$97Hour ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★:::::!mj189d:….,….

  • I ran a crazy-successful wedding business (we’re still finding pockets of money just hanging out – “oh yeah, paypal!”) for six years, then we moved to Sweden, where no one spends money on weddings. So I decided to learn how to program. Three months into that, I got hired to teach programming. Now I’m looking to be a full-time web developer. Job-hunting is always a rollercoaster, but I have three interviews in the next week. By this time next year, I expect to be killing it in the tech world.

  • Shirley Schmidt

    Late to the brag, but my job/career is going so well at the moment! This time last year I was still in the hope-rejection cycle that is trying to get a qualifying position in my original lawyer subset of choice and working as a paralegal in a workplace ridden with casual sexism where I got better work mostly because I was the paralegal with tits.
    I finally got fed up of my lack of prospects there, told them that they needed to either put me through the qualifying process or I would leave and then when that was denied to me, left.
    I could do that because I’d been so impressive on paper and at interview at another firm that they offered me a paralegal job for only as long as it takes for me to finish my studies and then a qualifying position in lawyer subset 2. After a 15 minute chat!
    I’ll start that qualifying position in September and I am killing it in the meantime! I just got a completely unexpected raise and bonus and my boss was genuinely sorry that he couldn’t give me more. It raises my salary almost to trainee level. And my work level and ability to advocate for myself mean that I’m getting to work on some really interesting, career-developing matters. And in 2 years’ time, I will finally be a qualified lawyer – something that I’ve been fighting for since 2013!

  • julia

    Thank you Meg–what a great thread. I’m so inspired reading everyone else’s posts–you ladies are AMAZING. Ok, so here we go. In the last two years I:

    – Was promoted twice into positions that I was underqualified for on paper (but succeeded at in real life)
    – Pursued and achieved a Master’s degree in another state (I traveled there once a month) while working full time, while travelling out of the country at about 50% time
    – Bought my first home
    – Booked my first after-hours consulting gig, which included getting paid to speak at a convention (!!)
    – Successfully won a $120M grant proposal for the non-profit organization I work for
    – Generally KILLED it in a job that I constantly have to convince myself that I’m good enough for

    I still have lots to learn and grow at…but damn, I hustled.

  • Ella

    I left a job that gave me anxiety and am managing to stay financially okay on 60% of the pay. So two brags: 1. Prioritising my mental health (which shouldn’t be a braggable thing but it is actually really hard) and 2. Being thrifty, which is a habit I’d like to keep even if my salary increases.

  • Rachel

    Thank you for the article – very interesting topic! I think there’s a difference between feeling confident and feeling entitled. It seems like in the US today, our culture sort of glorifies self-deprecation and martyrdom, so when someone shows confidence or self-assurance, I think it can often be interpreted as entitlement and being snobbish. I hope as we continue to empower ourselves as a society and as individuals (and especially as women), we can replace glorified self-deprecation with an admiration of self-worth.

    After struggling with a lot of emotional turmoil when I was younger, I now have a driver’s license, I bought a car, I have a full-time job in a field I love, I live with a wonderful partner in an adorable house, I give myself time for my mental and emotional health, and I continue pushing myself to learn new skills and have new experiences every day. I’m proud of how much I’ve grown over the past few years and I look forward to becoming an even stronger person in the future.

  • idkmybffjill

    I’m a day late on this, but everything hadn’t come through yet! In January I found out my company was closing at the end of March, and the next day I found out I was pregnant. In the last week we had an offer accepted on a badass new condo, and I’ve received THREE great job offers. And it’s my birthday! Which isn’t an achievement, but 29 looks good. New house, new kid, new job. Boom.

    Also – I took a risk and disclosed about my pregnancy with the jobs, and they all still wanted me. I feel pretty badass about that!

  • Emily

    I’ve been thinking about this post a lot the last couple of days because, like many of you, I am my own worst enemy. I am really really good at picking out what is wrong and how I’ve embarrassed myself, so this is an excellent exercise (and feels like very uncharted territory). I’m also not where I want to be in life, so it will be helpful elevating what I have accomplished. Here we go:

    – I am fully supporting my fiance financially while he completes his dream of finishing graduate school and becoming an addictions counselor. I convinced him to quit his Whole Foods job a year ago, which was the best decision for himself he could have made. And I’m even able to fund a few vacations. On top of that, I am also paying for our wedding by myself.

    – Speaking of our wedding, I am planning it and DIYing everything from the paper flower decorations to the invitations top to bottom, myself. I’m a perfectionist, so maybe that’s not so impressive (and I’m definitely in good company on APW!) but I feel like it’s really starting to come together and I have a hunch I’m going to be proud.

    – I volunteered and helped organize the Chicago Women’s March last month, which has sparked my passion for activism. I’m still looking for what’s next, but I’m hooked.

    – I currently mentor a first generation high school student while she navigates getting into the college and moving into the next part of her life. It’s wonderful offering my knowledge and support to someone perched on the beginning of it all.

    – I have come such a long way mentally and emotionally in the last year, which finally allowed me to get off anxiety medication. And it’s going so much better than I thought it would!

    Being successful and miserable at work is not a fun place to be, but I see the finish line. Now I just need to figure out what I want to do with my life…and to do it.

  • AnonUntilJobOffer

    This morning I had a third interview for a company that is creating a position for me. I’m 100% expecting an offer. It was hard, but I made myself say the words: ‘I want this title to be Senior Manager or Director’ and ‘I want to report to the VP, not the Director’. Both requests were taken positively, and made me feel like a bad ass.

    I’m nervous about what the salary offer will be, but I am ready to do some negotiating, because I have worked hard for the last 20 years to get to this position. WOOT!

  • Brigitha

    I’m a ceramic artist who moved across the country 6 months ago to work with another much more successful artist. I’ve been building up a line of dinnerware, but have been hesitant to show or sell any of my new work. Yesterday, I took some samples to a high-end restaurant, and they agreed to buy a test run of plates and bowls. It feel amazing!

    • Green

      Website, please.

  • Amy

    I am about to start working at my dream job – running a boat yard. My other half and I were head hunted to come in on this new venture and it’s going to be amazing.

  • Cay

    Well there are a lot of pending things, but I think a few things I’m feeling good about are:

    1) I’m currently applying to med school, and am actually chill about not knowing what the immediate future holds (I am waiting to hear back for interviews, but am also at peace about the slight chance that I don’t get any and may have to reapply next year, which took A LOT of prayer)
    2) I graduate from my post-baccalaureate program in May
    3) I work part time at a pediatric emergency
    4) I am the facilitator of a College/grad school/ school aged oriented ministry at my church that we are forming from the ground up.
    5) With all this going on, my fiance and I have planned a 200 guest wedding in 8 months. We just finished the last rental/contract and now I’m relaxing a little and just focusing on payments. We officially started planning in Oct. last year, he proposed the day after Thanksgiving, and we booked our last vendor last week. We’re getting hitched in May of this year).

    And I’m alive. So I count this as good.

  • TravelPT

    I call myself a feminist…and yet….
    I have a hard time telling my close group of friends that I:
    -Saved up all the money to pay for our wedding last fall in the first 2 years of my first job out of grad school
    -saved double that amount of money into my first retirement account
    -took on being the sole breadwinner in our house for the past 3 years while my boyfriend turned fiancee turned husband tried to start a business
    -emotionally supported him through that, our 5 moves together, wedding planning/executing, and his two-year long job search when he decided to pursue another job track (and he finally landed one last week!)
    -did enough self-care during that time to also be emotionally available to my patients (I work with patients with stroke, brain injury, etc) while working toward a specialty certification that takes over 2000+ hours
    -was solely funding (and maxing out!) our Roth IRAs the past two years

    #brag box is such a great idea, not only to allow women to feel confident but also to get inspired reading all these posts! Another reason I heart APW :)

  • Anna

    Joining this late, but I need this.

    In May I’ll graduate with my doctorate, for which I’ve been busting my ass for the last 3.5 years. I’ve earned a 3.8 GPA, I was the president of our school’s chapter of our field’s student association, my internship supervisors have (mostly) loved having me as their student clinician, and one of them has even put feelers out about offering me a job after I’ve graduated. I’ve been working incredibly hard to accept and learn from the challenges at my current placement, and I’ve been doing awesome at it.

    I’ve managed to make and sustain incredible, empowering, supportive friendships as I’ve crisscrossed the country over the last 10 years.

    I have a life insurance policy, I can pay my bills every month, and my finances are in reasonably good (could *definitely* be better) shape. Although I really need to look into a good retirement account.

    I’m dating someone whom I like, and who likes me, and while I don’t think this is going to be *IT*, I’m staying open-minded, because you never know what can happen.

  • I moved to Europe.
    I know it’s not a unique thing,
    but it scared the shit out of me to do it.

  • firefighter!

    I’m going through fire academy. Today I cut a hole in a roof and climbed multiple ladders carrying (heavy!) tools.

  • Emma Klues

    Late to the party but just wanted to say I love this idea and this post and this community. SUCH A FORCE FOR GOOD.

  • TravelerK

    My company is now just over a year old. We’ve grown from just me to three employees. We just incorprorated our US-subsidiary, so I’m now officially the CEO of a multi-national company. The WSJ interviewed me last year and put my picture in the magazine. I’ve just announced my second book, which will be coming out in May. I’m working my butt off, and it is the scariest thing I’ve ever done. When I started my company last year, my sister said, “So how long are you going to do this crazy entrepreneur thing?” Umm…forever I hope? Yay me!

    Also – I was shortlisted as the Innovator of the Year in my field, and my consulting company was shortlisted for the Consulting Team of the Year Award. I’ll let you know if we win at the awards ceremony in March!

  • Heather

    I have worked full-time the entire time I have been pursuing
    my PhD to avoid student loans and so I could help take care of my aging father.
    Everyone told me I could not/should not do it. Getting a PhD is a full-time job
    (it is!) However, I made it and I am currently in the dissertation proposal
    phase! My former boss (a man) asked me if I thought affirmative action got me
    into college, when I asked for a promotion. So I left that job and found a
    better one and kept working on my PhD. Well, I now have a fellowship for hazard &
    disaster mitigation and research. I also just co-authored my first paper with a
    FEMA program manager. I’m so excited to be networking with like-minded people
    who are committed to making a difference in my field and improving diversity
    not only in terms of race & ethnicity but also gender, age, ability, economic
    and geographic diversity. I accomplished all of these things because I believe
    in myself and I am pursuing my goals with clarity. I won’t take no for an
    answer. I am truly thankful for every single moment.

    Sure, it has taken me longer to finish school and I don’t
    get many vacations because I am usually writing or going to a conference, but it
    has been totally worth it. My husband and I just bought our first home after living in our apt. for ten years. It has a garden and deck and we really really love sitting outside with our dogs.

    I can honestly say I’m proud of myself and I’m standing
    proud, happy to bask in my excellence for a moment and then get back to work!
    Thank you for encouraging us to be vocal about all we accomplish. You ladies
    are an inspiration. Kudos!