Monday, September 21, 2015

Stay flexible

This industry will drive you crazy if you let it. There is very little predictability in what a day could look like. In my first day at one company, I found myself re-designing a collection, collaborating with the founder of the company and making changes to a line I had never seen... all prior to finding my desk or learning the location of the bathrooms. It was definitely a first for me, but in this industry, sometimes you just need to go with the flow.

The only thing you can consistently expect is change. Starting from a place of curiosity and being open will serve you well in your career in the fashion world.

To learn more about career coaching, go to

Monday, August 10, 2015

Keeping the boss's hours

I noticed a trend over my career. People tend to show up in the office when the most senior member of the leadership team arrives in the morning & depart when s/he leaves in the evening. If you are the boss in your area, take notice. Come in a half hour later for a month and watch the team get in later. Come in an hour earlier the following month and watch the trend of the team change. How come this happens?

There are a few reasons: First, hours are generally loosely defined in the fashion industry. It depends on the company and the corporate culture, but because people tend to work longer hours, start and stop times seem to vary. People take their boss's comings and goings as the official office hours.

Secondly, if there is a culture of getting ahead, people want to get there before their boss. It's an old, but often effective method of letting the boss think you are the hardest worker in the office- get there in the morning before your boss and leave after s/he leaves. If your work isn't up to snuff it doesn't matter how long you are in the office, but it can be an effective method for getting recognized with some executives. Others may not notice at all and you could be wasting what could be time away from the office with your family or friends.

Finally, most days in the fashion industry are very hectic. If you need to get time with your boss, the only availability may be before or after regular meeting hours. Use caution on this one however. Your boss may be staying late or coming in early to get their own work down and not appreciate you popping in off hours.

So, what's the point? Come in early, stay late, or set your own schedule? Know what that executive cares about. Know what you care about. If your goal is to get ahead and you know the executive values someone who puts in the hours, then go for it. If you are getting your job done and your boss isn't watching the clock, set your own schedule. More importantly, if you are that executive, pay attention to the team and set expectations. You may be having an effect you don't realize.

To learn more about career coaching, go to

Monday, July 13, 2015

Making friends in the office

I've heard lots of debate from both friends and clients on the topic of making friends at the office. What are the benefits or detractors of keeping your work and professional lives separate? It is true there are a lot of things to consider. Think about the following:

  • How much do you have in common with your co-worker outside of work?
  • What do you really like about that co-worker that would make you want to become their friend?
  • How confidential are your responsibilities in the office?
  • How often do you drink with your friends?
  • Where do you draw the line between sharing with a friend and sharing with a co-worker?
  • What are the pluses and minuses of venting about work to a co-worker over drinks?
  • What are your short and long term career goals?
  • How do you want to be perceived by others in the office?
  • How do you want to be perceived by your friends?
  • What do you like to do with your friends? Colleagues? 
  • How important is a separation between your work and downtime?
  • If you were to quit tomorrow, would the co-worker you consider as a friend continue to be your friend?
The reality in the fashion business is that it is almost impossible to completely separate your professional and home life. With casual, creative environments, client or vendor dinners,  and late nights, you will find yourself in social settings with your co-workers. It is only natural to start creating bonds. As you start to develop these relationships, keep in mind the answers to your questions above. Be selective and make sure you are making friends at work for the right reasons.

To learn more about career coaching, go to

Monday, June 15, 2015

Losing motivation

You can't target the exact moment it happened, but it happened. You are showing up for work later and later. You care just a little bit less about getting your work done in a timely manner and you stopped being curious about what's next for you at work. It does sound a little like the movie Office Space. 

At certain points in our career, we lose motivation at our jobs. How could this happen? It was a job you loved six months ago. So, what made you stop caring? It's a great question and one you need to ask yourself if you are going through this phase. How can you get to the bottom of it? Try answering these questions:

  • How long have you been in your current role?
  • What has changed about your job?
  • What has changed about your personal life?
  • What's the most challenging thing about your job right now?
  • What is the most challenging thing about your life right now?
  • What do you feel passionate about (either inside or outside the office)?
  • How successful do you feel at your job?
  • What could make you feel more successful at your job?
  • What is the next step in your career?
  • What fulfills you?
  • What are you missing in your daily life?
  • What types of challenges do you find exciting?
After you answer these questions, take a step back and think about what you want. How much do you want to regain your motivation? What are the obstacles in your way? How can you remove them?

Once you come to understand yourself a little more, your next steps will be clear. 

To learn more about career coaching, go to

Monday, March 23, 2015

Popular posts

The most popular posts on this blog are those that help people with their job search. Posts regarding "in career" situations are much less read. I find that interesting. What can I take away from that? Since I'm not getting a lot of two way dialog on this blog, I can only assume. My assumption is that job seekers (both the unemployed and those who consider themselves under-employed) are looking for career help much more often. That seems logical, but let's draw a parallel with marriage. You hear over and over again that marriage takes work. After being married for 12 years, I can verify that. I can also verify that the most difficult time to work on your marriage or change your situation is when your marriage is in a bad place. It is more difficult to be objective and make smart decisions.

This is also true for your career. Your career takes work- and I mean your career takes work, not just your job. Yes of course your job is work. That's why you are getting paid but managing your career needs to happen on a daily basis as well. This means checking in with yourself to see if you are happy. It means making sure you feel like you are challenged and growing. It also means making sure what you are doing either leads you to, or already is on track with your five year plan. Writing a resume, cover letter and determining references are much easier when your career is in a good place. You will make smart decisions if and when you do start that job search. 
Consistent maintenance on your career will help in both the long and short run. So go ahead and read those other posts. 

To learn more about career coaching, go to

Monday, March 9, 2015

Get a second opinion

If you are like me, your career is important to you. Deciding whether or not to apply for a job, sending a resume, going on an interview, or making a decision whether or nor to accept a job are all big decisions. The choices you make could lead nowhere or they could change your entire life. 

When considering a career move, find someone whose opinion you trust to be your sounding board. Make sure this person understands your goals and helps to keep you focused. Before making a move, consider the following:

How come you decided to update your resume? What made you decide to interview for this role at that company? How come you are considering leaving your current position? How does this new job fit with your current life? How does this new job fit into the life you want?

The closer you are to an actual job offer, the more that's at stake and the more your judgement could be clouded. Write down the answers to the questions above. Talk to your 'second opinion' about your answers. When it comes to decision time, you should have a clear path. 

What's the hardest career decision you've ever made? Who do you trust to be your sounding board? 

To learn more about career coaching, go to 

Monday, February 23, 2015

What do you want?

Defining what you want in your career is the first step in getting what you want. Unfortunately, many don’t take the time to figure out what they want in their careers. If you know what you want, you can focus on how to get there. You can outline a plan, make yourself present in the right meetings, and step up to where you see yourself in the future. You have heard the old adage, dress for the job you want, not the job you have, right? It’s the same idea for how you preform and how you behave. Perform in the job you want, not the job you have. Change your mindset so that you are already functioning at that level.

The bigger question is: how do you really know what you want? How can you focus on your future rather than getting bogged down in the day to day? Spending time understanding what you are good at, what makes you happy & what you want in your personal life will help guide you at understanding what you want in your career. Talk it out with a friend, trusted coworker or family member. Seeking the guidance of a career coach is also a great option for someone working to define his/ her future. A career coach can give you unbiased guidance to what it is you really want.

What have you done to define your future? How can you use your resources to determine what you want? How can a career coach help guide you?

To learn more about career coaching, go to

Monday, February 9, 2015

In the face of change

How people handle themselves in the face of change can advance or ruin a career. Leadership changes often in the fashion industry. In my career of 17 years, I have seen 9 different leaders. That means a leadership change has occurred just about every 2 years (Keep in mind I have only worked at 5 companies). Every time a leadership change was about to occur, the gossip would ramp up. People could feel it coming and start to panic. It didn't matter if they loved or hated the current leader. Strange factions would start to arise. People would begin to ‘position’ themselves closely with one leader or another.

My message to you: stay out of it. Do your job. Focus on getting the job done & getting it done well. Every leader will appreciate this. It doesn't matter if this leader is your boss or your boss’ boss’ boss’ boss. Just focus on doing your job and staying out of the politics. It will also keep your stress level low. If a colleague wants to come to you and vent their fears, you can listen but not join in the panic. Listening doesn't mean you have to chime in on their fears or even agree.

How have you reacted in the face of change? What can you gain/ lose by involving yourself in the office politics? How could aligning with a current leader help/ hurt your career?

To learn more about career coaching, go to

Monday, January 26, 2015


There are so many different types of leaders in the fashion industry. I have found that a leadership style often is formed from education, professional experience, but most of all through what leadership you have experienced early in your career. Whether you are a seasoned leader or new to managing a team, understanding how you are viewed as a leader is just as important as the results you deliver. Some teams will follow their leader because of respect, while others get work done because of fear. Some leaders lift the team up while others put the team down. Some leaders give energy to the team while others take away energy.

What do you want to be known for as a leader? How well does your team respect you? Which leadership style would allow you to build a high functioning team? Who do you respect most as a leader? What could you learn from that leader?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Internal PR

Sometimes people get bogged down in doing their job that they forget how important it is to let others know what successes they have had. In smaller companies, your impact is usually clear. In larger companies, people in your division may be aware of what your success, but other divisions may not be aware. What if a role comes up in another division that interests you? How will other leaders know what a rock star you are if they don’t know what you have done? 

Sometimes your boss is busy and cannot see all of the great things you have accomplished. Earning a great track record is important, so how can you let others know about it without seeming arrogant? If you have a weekly meeting with your boss, why not share what happened in the week? What if you talk about the problems you solved and proactive steps you are taking? 

To learn more about career coach Kate Kibler, go to