The ‘squiggly line’ move towards a successful career is something suggested by a multimillionaire former lawyer and by top QC Miriam Dean.
Ms Dean is the woman lawyer who was Russell McVeagh’s first woman partner, heading the firm’s litigation department and helping set the firm’s increased pace of elevating women.
But for the woman who at one point wanted to be an air hostess. Miriam Dean has made the important point that we reported recently on the ‘faking-it-till-you’re-making-it’ in their careers.
The much-reported difficulties for women to balance work/life balance with a successful career is one of the things that has motivated Miriam Dean to run law workshops for women.
And her former Russell McVeagh colleague and now startup millionaire Claudia Batten, who runs her ‘Stilettos in the Boardroom’ blog and who is also now a Trade & Enterprise ambassador in the US, had pointed out that careers can be a “squiggly line”
(See the Claudia Batten career pointers below)
Miriam Dean was affected by what Claudia Batten recommended, telling LawTalk – “Claudia Batten . . talks about careers being on a squiggly line – doing different things.
“With my governance and corporate work, the women in law workshops I spearheaded, and stepping back to some commercial mediation, I am still in the legal space and feel I am super squiggly because I have my foot in a number of patches.
“You have to have time to think and strategise and that’s a pervasive theme through what I’m doing. As a director you have to have that time. It is important for women to take time out from busy lives to think about what pushes your buttons.
“Where do you want to be in five years, how are you going to get there, who’s going to help and what behavioural changes do you need to have to get there?”
At workshops Miriam gets women to use a behavioural assessment tool based on four different behavioural traits: dominance, inducement, submission and compliance, to assess their self-confidence.
Bringing the work/life balance to the law is tough, more so for women. But the more we hear from people like Ms Dean and Claudia Batten the better.
The Claudia Batten ‘Squiggly Career’ Rules
Claudia Batten left Russell McVeagh and embarked upon a massively successful entrepreneurial career – and ‘Massive’ is the word.
She moved from Wellington to New York where she helped co-found two groundbreaking digital businesses: Massive Inc, which was sold to Microsoft for a reported US$200-$400 million, and Victor & Spoils, one of the first advertising agencies built using crowd-sourcing.
Claudia Batten’s rules for following the squiggly career including –
> Be Bold. She recommends moving away from the tried and true ways of making a living and trying something different. “Be sure people know who you are and remind them of your existence (without being a stalker!)”
> Realise that everyone’s life experiences are different and you are likely to come up with a different solution based upon your own experiences and knowledge – so use it.
> After her degree at Victoria University she was offered the Russell McVeagh job and followed a ‘linear path’, she told the NZ Herald. “She follows what she calls the “squiggly line” where one has to be prepared to move forwards but accept there may be times when one goes sideways and even backwards.”
>No creative person should expect a ‘linear progression’.
>Do you have a superpower you are not using? It’s all the individual elements that lead to a strong whole – cute accent, interesting family history, strong math skills, badass golf wing, fantastic hair? Use whatever you have, you are your own secret weapon.
Getting your Dream Job
Claudia Batten writes in her blog about how to land your dream job, with some sage advice –
– Know the company but please don’t tell me how to run it. Don’t act like you would have it all under control in a few days. Even if true, no one likes a know-it-all.– Don’t badmouth your previous or current employer. Or anyone. It shows your lack of character, not theirs.– Be cool. Startups heavily rely on culture strength to get through good and bad times.– Don’t ask about vacation, sick leave, personal leave, flexible hours, travel, birthdays off, etc. Working at a startup doesn’t involve punching out at 5pm. Ever.– Have a great story on hand about the time you had an almighty disaster to deal with and how you coped. Start-ups are often fire drill upon fire drill.
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