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Career Development Topics

Informational "Snapshots" and Information Available on the Web


Saying "No"

  • Most people have a hard time saying "no", primarily because they feel that it casts them in a negative light. They feel that it will make them seem like less of a team player or that they are trying to avoid work.
  • Saying a mindful "no" is actually a positive action, as it allows you to work toward your own purpose and allows others the opportunity to step up to the challenge.
  • It is important to be assertive in your behavior, and not aggressive. Being assertive will allow you to get your message across without invoking a negative emotional response from the listener.
  • Be clear, concise and consistent in your message.

Learn More:
How to Say No 
Nine Practices to Help You Say No 
Say "No" For Work Life Balance
Assertive Communication for Better Relationships

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Active Listening

  • Take personal responsibility for understanding what you hear.
  • Concentrate and make a good effort to focus on the person speaking.
  • Listen without interrupting, disagreeing, or offering explanations.
  • Use body language (nonverbal gestures) to show that you are involved in the conversation - nod your head, keep eye contact, lean toward the speaker.
  • Ask questions to be certain you are interpreting the message correctly. You can also summarize and paraphrase what you heard.
  • Take notes as necessary. This will help you remember and/or document what was said.

Learn more:
Active Listening: Hear what People are Really Saying 
Active Listening Study Guide 
Active Listening Clip 1: 
Active Listening Clip 2:

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Getting to Know Introverts

  • 25% - 40% of the population is oriented to introversion, with more who have introverted "tendencies"
  • Being introverted is not the same as being shy
  • Introverts gain energy from spending time alone, while extroverts become energized by being with others
  • Introverts tend to be deep thinkers, great listeners and are very creative and detail oriented
  • Introverts prefer to have deep, meaningful conversations with a few close friends than having superficial, small talk with acquaintances or large groups
  • Before making decisions or verbalizing opinions, introverts prefer to have time to think about & process information 
  • Famous introverts include President Obama, Meryl Streep, Mahatma Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Stephen King, Albert Einstein, J.K. Rowling, Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks, Rosa Parks, David Letterman & Jane Goodall

Learn more:
Extraversion vs. Introversion 
Introverts No Longer the Quiet Followers of Extroverts 
Faking it: How introverts succeed 
Introvert vs. Extrovert: A glimpse into the challenges of an introvert

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Critical Thinking and Mentoring

Mentoring is a learning opportunity for both the mentor and mentee. One of the best ways to create this reciprocal environment is through critical thinking. According to's 21st Century Lexicon, critical thinking is "the mental process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion." By being reflective about their own experiences, mentors can gain perspective while sharing lessons learned with their mentee. Here are some other ways that critical thinking can be helpful:

  • Figure out the "who", "what" and "when" while dealing with issues
  • Mentoring pairs can utilize critical thinking to help navigate through change and alleviate the stress that can accompany it
  • Critical thinking can encourage "what else" thinking, allowing innovative problem solving
  • When tasked with meeting a goal, critical thinking can help clear the path to achieving desired results
  • When reflecting on a completed tasks, don't just consider what worked and what didn't work, but also how the process of completing the task was created
  • Critical thinking enables you to be aware of how emotions affect your decision making process

Learn more:
Becoming Aware: Mentoring & Critical Thinking - 
Developing Skills in Critical Reflection Through Mentoring Stories -
Critical Thinking Exercises - ‎ 
Critical Thinking Skills -
Do You Think? -
Behind the Medicine: Critical Thinking -

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Women and Negotiation


  • Most women do not negotiate salary, promotions and other advancement opportunities that men commonly and aggressively pursue.
  • Failure for women to advocate for themselves is often the difference between climbing the career ladder at a healthy pace and not climbing it at all.
  • The negotiation skills men and women use to achieve their goals at the bargaining table differ in subtle yet important ways.  Women tend to be more indirect when asking for things. Many women will merely imply what they want, but not come out and ask for it.
  • Most of the mistakes women make in negotiation happen before entering the conversation. Think about: what do you want? What do they want? Is it really important? What would you do if you didn’t get a resolution?  If nothing, then why negotiate for this – put your energy elsewhere. Establish in your own mind what alternatives and trade-offs you might be willing to consider.
  • Many women set lower goals and are satisfied with less than men, but it’s not clear why. Experts often say that one theory is that women compare themselves to other women and they don’t include men when comparing salaries, benefits, or promotions.
  • Women are more likely to take “no” for an answer, whereas men might make a counteroffer.

Learn More:


Why Women Must Ask (The Right Way): Negotiation Advice From Stanford's Margaret A. Neale  
Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation: Blog
Free report Negotiation Strategies for Women: Secrets to Success
Negotiating Salary 101: Tactics for Better Compensation:


  • Research your value
  • Don’t be the first to disclose a number
  • Prepare a counteroffer
  • Remember to negotiate for things beyond base pay


Suggested Reading:
Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide  Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever 
Ask For It: How Women Can Use Negotiation to Get What They Really Want
  Linda Babcock  Sara Laschever 
Lean Out: The Dangers for Women Who Negotiate

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Imposter Syndrome


  • "Impostor syndrome" first appeared in an article by Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes who observed many high-achieving women tended to believe they were not intelligent, and that they were over-evaluated by others. 
  • The feeling that, regardless of your accomplishments, you’re still about to be unmasked as a fraud. 
  • Sometimes called the imposter phenomenon or fraud syndrome, the imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments, despite external evidence of their competence.  Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be. 

Learn more 
High-Achievers Suffering from 'Imposter Syndrome'   
Faking It: Women, Academia, and Imposter Syndrome   
When Women Feel Like Frauds They Fuel Their Own Failures  
The Imposter Syndrome: Are You Fooling Everyone?   
The Imposter Syndrome, or, as my Mother told me: “Just Because Everyone Else is an A******, it Doesn’t Make you a Fraud.”   
An Academic With Imposter Syndrome   
Chris Lema: The Imposter Syndrome   
Clance IP Scale

Suggested Reading
Clance, Pauline R.; Imes, Suzanne A. (1978). The impostor phenomenon in high achieving women: Dynamics and therapeutic intervention  
Langford, Joe; Clance, Pauline R. (1993).  The Imposter Phenomenon: Recent Research Findings Regarding Dynamics, Personality and Family Patterns and Their Implications for Treatment

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Visioning and Developing a Personal Mission 
Mission: Who you are and what you value.
Vision: What you want to become.
Together the mission and vision guide strategy development and inform goals and objectives set to determine whether the strategy is on track.
Personal Mission Statement Development:

  • Identify Past Successes – write down 4-5 work, community or home examples in recent years.  Identify common theme(s)
  • Identify Core Values - Develop a list of attributes that identify who you are and your priorities. Narrow the list to the top 5-6.  Finally, choose your most important value.
  • Identify Contributions. List the ways you could make a difference – how could you contribute best to: the world in general; your family; your employer or future employers; your friends; and your community
  • Identify Goals. Use your priorities to make a list of your personal short- and long-term goals.
  • Write Mission Statement. Based on the first four steps and a better understanding of yourself, begin writing your personal mission statement.

Vision Statement Development:
Reflect on your core values, passions and review your mission statement.  Envision what you aspire to become and achieve in the next five years. In terms of the categories below, describe as specifically as possible what you hope to see, hear and experience.

  • Environment: i.e. physical surroundings, communication with others, financial resources
  • People: Who are your collaborators; colleagues; and students.
  • Status & reputation: what will others say about you and what you do?; What will your roles & contributions be on the local, national and international level?  What will you be known for?
  • Write a sentence that describes your vision of the future.

Set aside some time annually to review your career, job, goals, and mission statement -- and make adjustments as necessary. 

Learn More:

Why Having a Vision for Your Life Matters More than Individual Goals   
Career and Life Vision   
Women and the Vision Thing

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5 Steps to Prevent Burnout and Chronic Stress for Women in Medicine and Science
presented by Angela Savitri, otr/I, Freedom from Chronic Stress Coach and creator of the 90-Dya Freedom from Chronic Stress Program

Savitri Five Steps Workshop March 2016  
Savitri Five Steps Handout March 2016

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