Nearly a week after attending Cosmopolitan’s Fun Fearless Life, I was invited to attend New York Women in Communications‘ 2014 Student Communications Career Conference, featuring Anne Fulenwider, the Editor-in-Chief of Marie Claire. On stage, Anne spoke about the importance of remaining perseverant despite all obstacles and more importantly, of listening to yourself. I noticed a few correlations between the way she measures success and the way Gabrielle Bernstein suggested we measure success. Therefore, it is no surprise that I jumped at the opportunity to interview her.
GE: I know that Marie Claire is big on covering career topics. It’s one of the reasons I love the magazine. What advice would you give to a person, like myself, whose dream job is to work for a women’s magazine?
AF: I think there’s so many opportunities right now. The fact that you’re blogging is such an advantage, because all those bylines and that voice was really much harder to come by when I was starting out. So, you already have your stack of bylines, is what they used to be called. You have a proven starting point, and you can bring these in and show them to whoever you’re interviewing with.
We have internships, and we also have assistant jobs. In many ways, women’s magazines are old fashion in that these things are like apprenticeships. But I would say, apply for one, jump in and once you get there, it’s sort of getting your foot into an organization that you believe is a good fit and something that you like. And really from there, you can make your own career. I mean, you really can. It’s about showing up and what you do with that opportunity.
GE: Is there any other way to go about it besides applying? I know some people who have landed jobs through social media.
AF: That’s a whole new way that I don’t even think about, but it’s true.
Doing what you’re doing – going to conferences, meeting people, asking the right questions, kind of getting out there. It takes a little while. It doesn’t always work immediately, but it’s really the only way ’cause applying with no face attached to the name where no one knows you is much, much harder.
GE: I recently attended the Cosmo Fun Fearless Life conference, and Gabrielle Bernstein said she measures success based on how much fun she’s having, and I heard that in your speech. Was there a time in your career when you were confused about what path to take? And if so – you mentioned intuition as well, and I’m big on intuition – did your intuition guide you in making a decision you were unsure about?
AF: A combination of intuition, ambition and impatience, probably. [Giggles]
It’s hard to break up from an assistant level to the next level. There are certainly opportunities, but you have to really be creative and scrappy. Twice in my career, I have left one job knowing that that’s where I wanted to be but thinking there was no path for me there, so I’m gonna go do this somewhere else. It just so happens that there’s a parallel in my life where I did that at Vanity Fair and at Marie Claire.
But I think sometimes you do have to make a lateral move or not be afraid to take something that isn’t your ideal glamorous job for a little while and also constantly be looking for opportunities. I mean, even if you’re at, let’s say, your ideal magazine, if you don’t feel like you can grow any more there, you have to look around for the other opportunities and say, “Look, I’m going to learn this skill at this job and maybe I’ll be back.” You sort of have to not get sucked into thinking that you cannot do anything but live for this one organization.
GE: We rush into things. We set up our own pressure, so to speak. What advice would you give to the women who think, I want to be successful or I have to be successful by the age of 25 or 26. They set these crazy - ’cause we know that’s not how life works, or at least that’s what I’m learning through my experiences.
AF: I think your 20s are really all about that impatience, and it sort of defines and drives you. As long as you’re doing something that you somewhat enjoy, find challenging and find on the right path, I think one of the things about your 20s is you have to realize that you’re just a very small fish in a very large pond. And you may do great things, but you know, give yourself a little break. Be a little patient. Know that you could actually get your dream job at 32, and that’s still a giant accomplishment. So I think that while I don’t want anyone to just rest in their laurels and sit back and think, it’s gonna happen, no worries – you have to be constantly doing things that set yourself up for the opportunities when they come – but, you know, give yourself a break.
Amidst our conversation, Anne invited me to send over my résumé, and that’s exactly what I did. Now, as I scan the room for opportunities, I am taking an even more proactive approach towards reaching my goals by preparing as much as I can for them. How are you preparing for your dream job? What did you think of my interview with Anne Fulenwider? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below or send me a tweet @TheWriteWoman. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #MondayMuse.