Issa Rae’s Best Advice for Working Smarter

Rae may not have won an Emmy, but she did win red carpet life advice — and she’s done it before.

Robin Marchant / Stringer / Getty Images

At last night’s Emmy Awards, Issa Rae missed out on the award for best actress in a comedy series for her role on “Insecure.” But the advice she offered on the red carpet cut through the glitz with some real, take-home wisdom: “I actually like getting advice outside of the industry, because… I like to get the perspective that it’s not that serious… we all go through the same issues, and it’s so important for me to get other perspectives… my friends are great for that.”

Rae’s suggestion to look for perspective on work stresses outside your industry is perceptive. If we follow her advice, not only can we better understand how some of our anxieties about work are universal, and transcend our industry — we can also get fresh eyes on problems we’re facing at the office.

But last night is not the only time Rae has given us smart, practical work advice. She gave Elle some wise thoughts on the importance of combining patience and hard work in 2015: “Be patient and be consistent! There were so many times where I got frustrated that things weren’t picking up as fast as I wanted them to. I also had to check myself several times for feeling entitled to success. All I could do was keep working toward my vision and my passion and treat it like a fun job, not just a hobby.” Her advice has only gotten better since then.

In 2016 she clarified the sentiment she presented to Elle with this gem of a Tweet: “‘Good things come to those who wait’ is such an incomplete, passive and misleading expression.” Patience might be key, but you have to go after what you want with consistency, determination, and smart focus.

While the Emmy Awards are over until next year, when Rae finally does get the chance to make an acceptance speech, we can’t wait to hear what she will have to say. Until then, we’ll be following her advice and working, hard and clearly, towards our goals–always remembering that sometimes it will take time, and that often, we should turn towards friends for help, advice, and a little extra strength. 

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