For women and people of color, career advice meant to empower can have the opposite effect

A Black businesswoman wearing a face mask negotiates with a client. There is a plastic divider for social distancing.
A Black businesswoman wearing a face mask negotiates with a client. There is a plastic divider for social distancing.
Photo: Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

“Always negotiate.”

“Ask for what you want.”

“Charge what you’re worth.”

If I had a dollar for every piece of career advice I’ve read that boiled down to have more confidence, I probably wouldn’t need to negotiate anything ever again.

And of course, advocating for yourself makes a difference. I asked for more money for this very story. But for women and people of color, headlines like “Why You Should Always Ask for More Money” can ring hollow. Like much of the professional world, they weren’t created with us in mind.

So much traditional career advice perpetuates the idea that…


Slow but steady wins the race (and produces better work)

Photo: YakobchukOlena/Getty Images

It became clear to me that I’m a “slow” worker several years ago when I was doing some graphic design for a communications company. My co-worker, who held the same role, would pump out three to four sample designs in one sitting. I could only finish one or two decent samples a day. I tortured myself by playing the comparison game, wondering how I could speed up to match the pace of my colleague.

But here’s the thing — along with my slowness has always come a careful attention to detail. My work isn’t sloppy or mediocre. I thoroughly check…


While it’s good to set goals, sometimes we fall short of giving ourselves enough credit as is

Illustration: Nyanza D

As 2019 draws to a close, I see more posts on my Twitter newsfeed with reminders that there are less than 90 days in the year and it’s time to “finish with a bang.” For some reason, these intended motivational challenges make me feel an urgency to do something major — even though I’ve hit major milestones this year already.

To name a few, I’ve landed my first byline in the New York Times, quit my job to start freelance writing full-time, increased my freelance income 10 times from the previous year, and secured my first speaking engagement. …


Today’s job seekers often have to complete lengthy sample assignments. Is it ever okay to say no?

A female job candidate shakes her interviewer’s hand.
A female job candidate shakes her interviewer’s hand.
Photo: laflor/E+/Getty Images

In today’s job market, interviewing for a new position can feel like a job in itself, from the initial phone screening and first in-person interviews through the second and even third rounds (or more). And in case that process, which can drag out over several months, wasn’t already taxing enough, some employers also require candidates to complete a sample assignment.

Of course, it’s a good idea for employers to make sure they’re hiring someone who actually knows what they’re doing and to see firsthand that a candidate has the skills necessary to succeed in the role. …

Quinisha Jackson-Wright

Bylines in The New York Times, Business Insider, and The Muse. I talk about $$ on http://moneythewrightway.com and Twitter: https://twitter.com/KWright0702

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