“I’m not a super fan of the dream job. If you have your heart set on just one job, your heart is going to be broken.”
Ann Shoket, former Editor-in-Chief of Seventeen and CosmoGirl!, has been telling us how it is since our teenage years. The former magazine maven turned author started research for “The Big Life” by inviting millennial women over for dinner. They discussed what they’re looking for – and maybe not getting – in work, relationships and money. Honest feelings courtesy of wine and frozen pizza.
During a fireside chat with Six Degrees Society on Sept. 27, Ann shared a big theme of her book: reinvention. There’s becoming less of a rulebook to follow when it comes to achievement. “Success” doesn’t just come from a 9-to-5 job, it’s the thrill of a side hustle and the joy of a fulfilling partnership. “The Big Life” has cultivated a movement of “Badass Babes”: “A sisterhood of women who are determined to carve their own path, on their own terms.”
Hosted at Monica Vinader, the international luxury jewelry brand synonymous with personalization (cue the complimentary engraving), Ann said that while it’s valuable to realize your dreams, it’s important to avoid boxing yourself in. “I don’t like the words ‘passion’ or ‘purpose’ because I think that’s paralyzing,” Ann shared with SDS. “The only way you’re going to find the thing that matters is by doing it. I like potential.”
The event ended with attendees taking home copies of Ann’s book, generously provided by Extend Fertility, an egg freezing clinic in New York City that creates more options for extending your family in the future.
After the event, SDS interviewed three attendees who shared how they plan to get “The Big Life”.
SDS: What do you do and how long have you been involved with SDS?
MICHELLE LILOIA: I am a Special Events Consultant at Dave & Buster’s in Times Square and this was my first event. I am super excited to get to know everyone.
ALEXA PIPIA: I’m a social media editor for Rolling Stone. I’m currently not a member, I attended one event prior to last night’s event.
SARA SHAH: I’m an attorney turned founder of a skincare based cosmetics brand, we’re set to launch next year. This was my first event, I recently came across SDS through a friend who also attended.
SDS: What did Ann Shoket say about millennial women that resonated with you?
MICHELLE: I really liked what Ann said about dream jobs. I myself am still not even completely sure what that would be. There is a lot of pressure to have that perfect job but not everyone finds it at first or ever! It was amazing to hear a different opinion on that topic.
ALEXA: What really resonated with me wasn’t directed at millennial women in particular but maybe something that everyone should remember in life. She said, “I don’t believe in failure, I believe in the journey.” I also loved how she kept saying life is messy and you have to embrace that mess rather than trying to make everything perfect.
SARA: When asked, “If you had to give your 30-year-old self advice, what would it be?” Ann said, “Listen to your instincts, explore and don’t just push it away.” I think that’s true, that’s something I would tell my 20-year-old self. Listen to it and be aware of it.
SDS: Ann said, “Work-life balance is bullshit. It doesn’t exist.” Do you agree? Why or why not?
MICHELLE: I agree with Ann that work-life balance is bullshit. Even as your work day comes to a close, there are still networking events to attend, people to meet and things to do to improve your successes. I believe it is very important to take time for yourself but I also think there is always an opportunity to rise to the top.
ALEXA: I agree 100%. I believe that the different aspects of life bleed into one another and you have to embrace that. There’s no way everything is going to be clean-cut and separated.
SARA: I agree. It’s been exhausting to strive for a balance between a successful career and a life, there’s no such thing. I think you should be cognizant of both worlds and know that you’ll coexist between them, that’s really important. If you make peace with the fact that there’s no work-life balance then you can give attention to both. I don’t have kids but I want to make sure to spend enough time with my husband, parents and cats.
SDS: Can you share one of your goals to “make it” in NYC and have the “big life”?
MICHELLE: One of my goals is to get to know more people in my field around the NYC area. Because I just moved here from Orlando, I am still adjusting to the hustle and bustle (which I love) and making my way around. I never thought I would actually make it to NYC in the first place so being here is a dream of mine to begin with!
ALEXA: My goal is very similar to girls my age. I want to have it all: a great apartment, family and successful career in the magazine industry.
SARA: I’m from Toronto and I’ve always dreamed about being a lawyer in NYC. That was my goal eight years ago and I was able to accomplish it. Now my goal is to create a unique skincare based cosmetics brand and address some of the underlying gaps in the industry that I’ll be disposing in the future.
SDS: Is there a word / sentence that stuck in your mind from the event?
MICHELLE: Hustle. This word is so important to everyone no matter what industry they are a part of. The only way to truly succeed is to hustle your butt off and make it big!
ALEXA: “I don’t believe in failure.”
SARA: Not a specific word but energy. I left with such a positive state of mind.