By Kelly Bradley, Guest BloggerNovember 14, 2015
image via jobkoreausa.com
I recently had the privilege to sit in on an interview with fashion designer, Vera Wang. Considering I work in the fashion industry and have loved fashion my whole life, this was an unforgettable experience. So often I am inspired by women who lead, women who blaze their own trail, and women who have the passion to go after what they want. Vera Wang is an inspiring woman who took charge of her career and built her own success.
Vera Wang’s fashion career has spanned over 45 years, and continues to flourish. In the interview, Vera shared a story about her first job at Vogue and how she was tasked with messenger slips. Feeling discouraged, and somewhat over-qualified for the task, Vera went to her father for advice.
“You have no idea what you are learning,” he told her. “You’re learning about the fashion industry from the bottom up.”
It was inspiring to hear Vera Wang describe the lesson she learned early on in her career. The nature of the fashion industry is to look forward, to look on to the next thing. Similarly, most professionals, in any field, are often looking towards what’s next in their careers.
Thanks to her father’s advice, Vera learned the importance of having ambition to seek professional advancement, while taking advantage of opportunities to learn as much as she could along the way. Vera Wang worked in the fashion industry long before going out on her own and starting her first fashion line. Looking back, Vera recognizes the value working for others had on her career, “I think working [for others] is important, because you are getting paid to learn.”
Take advantage of any chance to learn something new, and then invest that knowledge.
Although I am at the beginning of my career, I see what Vera Wang meant by taking advantage of learning opportunities. In Vera’s case, she was speaking to the opportunity she had to take all of the knowledge gained in her career and put it towards starting her own fashion line. Not everyone will start their own business or create a fashion line, but the same lesson can be implemented in any career (or life in general). Take advantage of any chance to learn something new, and then invest that knowledge.
My career path has been, somewhat, unexpected. I studied Fashion Merchandising in college and have worked in different areas of the fashion industry ever since. I understand that may not seem like an unexpected path, but it also hasn’t been predictable. My career has developed one step at a time, one position at a time.
The experience I have gained and the lessons I have learned are what guide my career choices. Each professional step I have taken has prepared me for the next. There can be a sense of urgency to get promoted, or pressure to keep up with co-workers and peers. Perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learned, so far, is to make educated decisions when it comes to my career path.
My career is on its own timeline.
My career is on its own timeline. I have the passion to advance, but I see the benefit in taking the time to learn everything I possibly can in the position I am in. I have been able to take the unexpected, less obvious path because I am thoughtfully investing all those lessons into each of my professional decisions.
Having the chance to hear Vera Wang speak about her career was an amazing opportunity. Her advice resonated with me because I immediately recognized the value of learning in my own career. Although Vera and I have fashion backgrounds, I believe her message is universal. Vera’s passion for her career, strong work-ethic, and willingness to seek any and all learning opportunities makes her a great inspiration.
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Kelly is a Midwestern girl, a daughter, sister, and friend. She earned her Bachelor’s degree (and currently works) in Fashion Merchandising, but has always had a passion for writing. Kelly also loves photography, music, and (of course) fashion. Kelly hopes to inspire young girls and women to discover and embrace what makes them truly extraordinary. Follow her on Instagram @KelBee6
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