Taking Charge of My Trajectory
Emilie: Kendra, you were lucky to have a boss who really invested in your career growth. You worked for our advisory board member, Allyn, at Georgetown’s Cawley Career Education Center, is that right?
Kendra: Yes! She told me about Bossed Up Bootcamp, and I had the pleasure of attending just as I was hired full-time. It kick-started my tenure here, and meant that I walked into my new job with a clear sense of my vision and how this role fit into my long-term goals.
E: That’s awesome. How did things change when Allyn left (she’s now at the University of Maryland!) and you had to step up on your own?
K: At first, I was just so busy learning the ropes and doing my job that to be honest, I didn’t think much about my advancement and development. But then I realized that without a boss who is so focused on my growth, I need to take charge of my own trajectory.
So I started asking for the things I wanted: projects I wanted to be a part of, outside learning opportunities I wanted to pursue, and challenge tasks to grow my skill set.
E: I loved running into you when we were both speaking at Georgetown’s OWN IT summit, and I was thrilled to see you sharing your talents as a career counselor. How did you find the courage to step up in this new way?
K: Well, my colleague sent the opportunity out to the counseling team and at first I actually wasn’t going to volunteer. It’s such a huge conference! I thought someone else might be better for it.
But then I thought about the name of the conference itself (Own It!) and realized this could be a great opportunity for me to step up in a way I hadn’t before. So I went for it!
I also reminded myself that I know this stuff! I help students with the job search, preparing for interviews, and weighing offers every day.
I’ve also received feedback from my supervisors and colleagues that they appreciate when I show initiative. People are just waiting for you to take lead!
E: Your work as a career counselor can be extremely taxing. How do you prevent yourself from burning out?
K: I’m all about checking in with myself and how I’m feeling, both physically as well as mentally. I give myself permission to take little breaks when I need it. If that means I need to take off early, I go talk to my supervisor. If that means saying no when I need to say no, I do it.
I’m an introvert, I recharge on my own. So sometimes that even means saying no to friends when they want to hang out!
E: What are your biggest lessons for women looking to advance their careers?
K: Take in as much advice, training, and mentorship as you can. It can be overwhelming sometimes, but you don’t need to use it all right away. It will be there for you when you need it.
When you’re struggling over a choice moment or looking for guidance, it’s there for you to incorporate and act on.
I still have my “live like a boss” pin on my cork board inspiring me and Bootcamp workbook to come back to whenever I need it.
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