Claire Wasserman from Ladies Get Paid informs us how to network like a boss and 11 great life lessons. Claire tells us about how her side project fuels her day job and vice versa, while sometimes how a good cry and a well organized spreadsheet can solve a lot of your problems!
Give us the elevator pitch on what you do. I’m the founder of Ladies Get Paid, an organization that helps women achieve their professional goals and get paid fairly. We speak up about challenges in the workplace, and provide the tools you need to take the next steps in your career. In less than three months, we’ve grown to a thousand women and I couldn’t be more thrilled. It’s time to #fuckthewagegap.
What has been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt along the way? 1.Want to expand your network? Stop networking. Instead, when you meet people, ask them how you can help. This part is is crucial: connect them to others. Wharton Professor Adam Grant calls this a five minute favor. It shows goodwill, supports others with minimal commitment from you, and immediately expands your network because guess what? They’ll probably connect you to someone else too.
2. Always go above and beyond. And do it with a positive attitude; no one needs an entitled intern.
3. Frustrated in your current situation? Make a list of everything that’s shitty. Then make a list of everything you’re learning. You grow the most in life during times of struggles and being able to see what you’re learning gives you instant perspective.
4. Don’t pursue your passion. Follow your curiosity.
5. Invest in a good therapist.
6. Stop thinking about fancy jobs and titles. Instead, think about what comes naturally to you. Lean into it and let it guide you – you’ll find a career path that’s much more fulfilling.
7. Side projects will get you your next job.
8. Everyone you meet is a potential collaborator, mentor, opportunity giver and/or cheerleader. Act accordingly.
9. If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, it didn’t happen.
10. Your time is more valuable than their paycheck.
11. It’s not about you as much as you think.
What have been some of your biggest disasters and how have you learnt from it? One disaster (or almost disaster) immediately comes to mind. I was creative directing and producing a weeklong interactive art exhibit, essentially building out a massive white space and throwing an 800 person party. We were down to the wire. Only about a month or so out, someone on my team dropped the ball and I was fucked. We were going to fail. After I went home and had a good cry, I opened my laptop and made a giant list of everything I had to do. As overwhelming as it was, it was less scary on paper than in my head. I could do this. I had to do this! I put all that shit into a spreadsheet, prioritized it, figured out who I could lean on to help, and guess what? I pulled it off. Sometimes all you need is a good cry and a well organized spreadsheet.
Any passion projects you would like to share? I’ve been writing a script, off and on, for about four years now. It’s about my brother who went to an ivy league college and joined a secret society. He also put on a bulletproof vest every night as an EMT in Bridgeport, CT, one of the most dangerous cities in America. Essentially, he lived a double life. For a while, I thought I had to choose between a life of filmmaking (I started my career in independent film producing) or advertising but then realized that having a side passion fueled my day job. And vice versa.
Now, I’m reconnected with an old writing partner and we’ve written a pilot as well as a short film version. Though our dream is of course to actually make it, I’m just so damn proud of us for even finishing it!
What’s the big goal in the next five years? My goal is to grow Ladies Get Paid into a true movement with thousands and thousands of women behind it. I’d love to expand our programming beyond career development into education around emotional intelligence. Relationships, sex, mental health: all the things that aren’t talked about enough in society and badly need community and transparency. I also hope to make my short film, live on the West Coast, get over my fear of camping (I’m SUCH a city girl), and be a bit more zen. A tarot card reader once told me that my destiny was “to have the world” so I’ve decided that’s my five year plan. That’s not too much to ask, right?