Love them or Hate them, Harry & Meghan have sent the internet on fire this week with their choice to ‘step back’ as senior royals.
There’s been anger, celebration, meme’s galore and everyone has decided to ‘weigh-in’ on their view of the situation.
For me, I think we can all learn a thing or two from their decision. I can’t imagine it was easy, and it is certainly taking them outside of their comfort zone…so here are a few tips to follow in Harry & Meghan steps in 2020.
1) Make a decision to figure out what you want from your career in 2020.
Ask yourself – what do you want from your life this year? Are you looking to settle down? Do you find it hard to balance work and the kids? Or are you looking to get that promotion this year? That pay rise? Or maybe even a secondment into another area of the business? This year decide what you want and start thinking about the steps to get there. Do you need to up-skill? Start a saving plan? Look into flexible working options? Today’s the time to decide and do what’s right for you in your career.
2) Take that secondment
As Harry and Meghan decide to split their time between North America and the UK, have a think about where you would like to work. Have you always thought about working abroad but have felt scared to make the leap? If the opportunity arises – give it a go! You have nothing to lose and if you don’t like it there is always the opportunity to move back. Never pass up a work opportunity – I can assure you no one regrets what they have done but usually what they haven’t.
3) Look into flexible working
With Harry and Meghan dividing their time between two countries and with a young baby they will certainly need to look at working flexibly and looking at their priorities. What do you want for 2020? Have you thought about working flexibly? Or maybe you already do… The common complaint I hear from clients is that they hate working from home, hunched over their laptop at the kitchen table. So make the environment better – buy a computer screen that you can plug into your laptop. I also use a wireless keyboard and mouse. It makes a huge difference to my posture and concentration.
If you aren’t already working flexibly maybe this year is the year you discuss with your manager your options. It’s not for everyone but usually spending one day working from home means you can beat the commute, be in your home comforts and work away from the office where you can work undisrupted on work without being interrupted by colleagues or distracted by things going on around you.
4) Put yourself first
Look at any newspaper or magazine and you can see the backlash Harry & Meghan have received but ultimately this will all die down in a few weeks or so. What they have done (and we all need to start doing more of) is put themselves first. They have looked at their mental health, what they want from life and made the call that they want more. In Meghan’s famous interview she said “It isn’t enough to just survive, we need to thrive.” And this is extremely true in so many of our careers. We tend to just put up with our jobs because we think ‘we have a job and I can survive this’ but we need to start lifting our self-worth and ask ourselves if our jobs are serving us. If you are forcing yourself into the workplace everyday you need to think about what your goals and priorities are 2020. Happiness in the workplace isn’t a myth and loads of people enjoy what they do. If you aren’t happy you need to change your situation.
5) Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’.
The private details such as how much they communicated with the Monarchy prior to the decision is not for us to know but one thing you should take from this is that it is ok to say no.
We all take on a heavier workload than we usually feel comfortable, we have all sat in a meeting wanting to say ‘I can’t’ but instead we stay silent because we are too scared to lose our jobs. I have worked with many clients who have told me about birthday and family engagements missed to stay late in the office. Even I remember, only a few years ago, spending the holiday of a lifetime logging into my work emails because for some reason I felt like I just couldn’t say no to being ‘online all the time’.
We need to take ownership of our careers and set boundaries. Saying ‘no’ isn’t a weakness but a strength.
6) Look at your financials
Most people I work with choose not to make a change in their lives because they decide they cannot afford it. They don’t want to drop their salary, they don’t want to change their lifestyle but then in the next breath they will tell me how much they hate their job. With this mindset nothing will change. Career change does not always mean a drop in salary but it will mean change. If you choose to start a family your outgoings will change regardless of your income.
It’s time to look at your financials and maybe look into what you put into savings. Harry & Meghan going ‘financially independent’ may still be talking about millions rather than hundreds or thousands like a lot of us are, but regardless, as with any change you need to think about what this will mean for you financially. Even with a promotion, if you are being paid more what are you going to do with that money? This is your time to start getting more savvy with your salary.
There are many things about this story that we just don’t know and I am not one to want to join in on the gossip but from a careers point of view Harry & Meghan are doing what is right for them and that really is the most important thing. They are taking control of their future, they are making decisions that fit with their values and beliefs and they are not being swayed by the world around them.
If nothing else I think when it comes to our careers, we can all be a bit more Harry & Meghan today.