As the former editor-in-chief of Seventeen magazine, Ann Shoket spent almost a decade talking to the tweens and teens who are now millennial career women. In her book, The Big Life, Shoket helps this new generation, she affectionately refers to as "badass babes," tackle seriously complex issues like crafting a career that's full of passion and how to get respect from bosses who really think you're a lazy, entitled millennial.
Shoket sat down with NBC News BETTER to talk about honoring your ambition, building your network and how to create the life you're meant to live. She says this is a "generation of women who have come together and are helping each other achieve and succeed. I call it your squad. And your squad isn't Taylor Shift. Your squad are chicks who are devoted to help you achieve and succeed."
Here, Shoket tells us about the five women you need in your corner to help you succeed and thrive — and one or two people you just might want to avoid:
How to Form Your Power Posse
It used to be that you'd hash through your work woes with people you saw every day, à la the characters in Friends — a close circle of pals hanging out together all the time. Today, your tribe is more focused and powerful, but it still offers sisterhood. When you're doing something hard, like carving out a new path for your life, with no clear role models to follow, you need to find people who support you and think your dream is brilliant. Your squad needs to be made of the chicks who get you and your ambition. When you're assembling your all-star team, these are the types of Badass Babes you need in your squad.
Instead of saying, "Do you know so-and-so" which can make people feel like a total loser if they have to say no, this chick says "OMG — you should know so-and so. I'll introduce you." And you know it's not just empty chitchat, because she opens her phone and puts it on her to-do list right there in front of you. You love this woman for being so generous with her connections, but, honestly, knowing you and making the right intros makes her look better too.
No good can come from being a dark cloud or aligning yourself with one. Ditto to the social climbers, who use other women as stepping stones.
Have you ever had lunch with someone and come away with a long to-do list of conferences you have to research, articles you have to read and products you have to try? That's the Suggester. She'd be exhausting if she wasn't so smart and usually right.
The Sympathy Sister
Everyone needs one chick in her squad who says, "Ugh, that is the worst thing I've ever heard. You poor baby. You deserve better." She simply gives you the permission to feel all the feels — which is not celebrated enough, IMHO.
Your Plus One
She's the ultimate work-event wingwoman. It looks bad if you tote your boyfriend along to all your industry parties and networking cocktails. And your other friends just aren't interested. Your Plus One comes with her own cred, and she knows how to strike up a convo with the power players who intimidate you and when to save you from the cling-ons who won't...stop...talking.
This woman is senior, celebrated, well known and likes you! She'd be your mentor, if she had time for that kind of formal arrangement. Instead, she's someone you can email (sparingly) if you have a well-thought out question or need a carefully researched connection request. She probably says you remind her of herself when she was younger — great! Total compliment.
Warning: Stay Away from the Dark Clouds
Make it your mission to build a squad of supportive, productive people you admire and respect, and who are all about shedding light — not sucking it out of everyone's day with their constant complaining. When I started at Seventeen, there was a small group who gathered around the water cooler to complain. You could practically see the dark cloud from down the hall. These people were about negativity, not about being amazing or coming up with solutions to the stuff that bugged them. Always remember that no good can come from being a dark cloud or aligning yourself with one. Ditto to the social climbers, who use other women as stepping stones, and the flakers, who promise stuff but never follow through.
Excerpted from THE BIG LIFE by Ann Shoket with permission from Rodale Books. © 2017 Ann Shoket.
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