Career Corner: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen Shares Why Career Success is Doing Both What You Love and Hate

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen at the University of Michigan.
Image via Flickr.
Janet Yellen at the the University of Michigan in April of 2017.

To say Janet L. Yellen is accomplished is putting it mildly. She was the first-ever female chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, she was the head of the team of economic advisors for Bill Clinton during his Presidency, and she is now the first female secretary of the United States Treasury.

So she knows a thing or two about success.

Stacey Vanek Smith for the Washington Post interviewed Yellen recently, hoping to glean some secrets that she could share for others looking to do well in their careers. However, the good news and the bad news are the same: the secret is something you likely already know but don’t like hearing.

In short, doing well in life is never easy. There is never a sudden epiphany where you now have all the knowledge you need to relax. Yellen credits her success to always doing her preparation work and never winging it.

“Fortify yourself by being as prepared and as knowledgeable as you possibly can,” was Yellen’s advice. “That works to bolster self-confidence. It certainly does for me. And that’s what I do to this day.”

And the other not-so-glamorous reality is that even for someone with as prestigious a track record as Yellen, she says you still can’t escape having aspects of your job you will hate.

Yellen supposedly hates public speaking, but obviously, someone in her position cannot avoid that task. Yellen says you never stop having to deal with parts of work that you hate, but you just have to tough it out and get it done.

That may not be a big revelation or the most soothing thing to hear when you are feeling overwhelmed. But you can take solace in the fact that your feelings are shared even by someone with incredible accomplishments.

You won’t always get to do what you love, but no one does, and that’s normal.

For more advice on how to handle the difficult aspects of your job, you can read the Washington Post article here.

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