"Wait Your Turn": 3 Remarkable Women on the Career Advice to Ignore

Photo: Sharon Suh

Whether you've just started out in your career or are in the C-suite, getting smart, insightful advice from those you admire matters; it can mean the difference between pushing yourself forward and grasping a new opportunity or letting it pass you by. While there's no shortage of inspiring career advice from women at the peak of their careers, The Skimm decided to flip the conversation for its new podcast, Skimm'd From the Couch.

The new podcast series sees The Skimm co-founders Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin chatting with founders and CEOs about the difficulties they've encountered on their path to success. "We're digging into how these women navigate the challenges and obstacles on the road to success—the worst advice they've ever received, how they deal with failure, who they call for a lifeline," they explain.

Ahead, three women lift the lid on the worst career advice they've ever received—and why you should absolutely ignore it.

Whitney Wolfe Herd, Founder and CEO of Bumble

"The worst piece of advice I've ever gotten was 'Don't. I wouldn't do that. You probably will fail. I think that sounds a little too risky,'" says Whitney Wolfe Herd, founder and CEO of dating and networking app Bumble. When she ignored the advice, she learned that failure isn't something to be scared of. "I think failure has this negative connotation. But I mean, failure just means you're trying something."

The advice she now gives others? Fail fearlessly. "The way I look at it is if you fail, so what? It's better than never doing it at all. If you never do something, then you've already failed, in my opinion."

Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code

If Reshma Saujani had followed every piece of career advice she'd been given, we doubt she'd be the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code. When quizzed by The Skimm founders, the lawyer and politician said one piece of terrible advice stood out. "What is the worst advice that I've ever gotten? To wait my turn in line," she said. Rather than passively waiting for promotions and opportunities, Saujani learned to forge her own and in doing so has created an organization that's given free computer-science instruction to 40,000 young women and counting.

Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, Founders of The Skimm

For the hosts of Skimm'd from the Couch, the worst career advice they received related to funding. Zakin told MyDomaine that encouraging startups to "raise as much money as you can," shouldn't necessarily be followed. "That can be very irresponsible advice that doesn’t take into account what that actually means for employees, investors or founders," she says. 

As for the best advice? Weisberg says it was from her mother. "The best advice we've gotten—and often share—is to ask for what you want," she says. "My mom always said that the worst thing someone can say is no. This can mean asking for investment, asking for 15 minutes of someone's time, asking for a raise."

From Our Partners