When MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle decided to switch from working in banking to media, she had to forge her own unique path. And one of the biggest lessons she learned from the career pivot is that women need to be proactive if they want to advance in their careers.
Ruhle recently sat down with Know Your Value founder Mika Brzezinski to outline ways that women can dramatically change their position in the workplace. They also chatted about her new podcast “Modern Ruhles," which aims to identify and generate meaningful dialogue around cultural issues that tend to cause controversy, including the #MeToo movement, political correctness, privilege and more.
Here are Ruhle's best tips for women who want to fast-track their careers.
1. Don’t wait around for recognition.
“I think women wait to be noticed,” said Brzezinski. “We work really hard we wait to be noticed nobody’s going to notice.”
Ruhle agreed, noting women are taught in school that if they work hard, they will advance to the next level — which isn’t necessarily the case.
“We’re rule followers. We sit and we say ‘I really want this next opportunity,” said Ruhle. “...The real world doesn’t work that way. We know that senior men are able to pull up other men because they’ve been doing it for years.”
2. Have a side hustle.
The Know Your Value brand started as Brzezinski’s side hustle.
“I took that risk myself,” Brzezinski said. “I did an event in Hartford, Conn., got some sponsors, got some producers. I then went to NBC and said ‘look at this!’ I didn’t say ‘I have an idea. Can you make it happen?’ I made it happen for myself.”
According to Ruhle, junior employees can’t rely on women to pull them up the chain because there simply aren’t enough women in charge. A side hustle is one way for women to seek success elsewhere.
“You reduced the margin of error,” said Ruhle to Brzezinski. “So when you went to the bosses at NBC, there was almost nothing they could say no to. You had a proven track record, you had sponsors, what could they possibly say?...They said ‘that works, let’s attach ourselves to it.’”
3. Make your own rule book.
Ruhle could not go a traditional route when she decided to switch from her finance career at Deutsche Bank. She had kids by that point. She couldn’t leave New York and attend journalism school. Instead, she built a side hustle by doing speaking engagements and forging relationships.
“People in finance ask me how they can change their career. I tell them there’s not a rulebook. You have to create it.”
4. Self-promote effectively.
Effective self-promotion is the key to moving ahead, according to Brzezinski, and women are “bad at it.”
“Public speaking. Everybody’s gotta get good at it,” said Brzezinski. “You’re the one who’s gonna have to articulate it and communicate it effectively. I find an audience wherever can. If it’s your girlfriends and some wine, if it’s your phone and you watch yourself and watch how bad you are so you can make yourself better—you’ve got to learn to speak.
5. Bring men into the conversation.
Young businesswomen want to “reset the rules and tear up the script,” according to Ruhle, which often means excluding men from the conversation.
“If you truly take guys out of the conversation, you’re forgetting that it’s guys that run corporate America,” said Ruhle. “If we can’t get them in this conversation with us, we’re not going to advance.”
On “Modern Ruhles,” Ruhle and guests discuss navigating the media landscape in “cancel culture.”
“This is complicated issues and if we can’t approach it in a complicated way with some sensitivity, what are we gonna do just wipe people off the face of the earth? ...The window is open because #MeToo. Before it shuts again, can we please get productive?”